Edited by Glenn Pease
I quote many authors both old and new, and if any do not want their wisdom shared in this way, they can let me know and I will delete it. My email is There are dozens of others who could be quoted, but these give you the essential knowledge of what God intends you to understand by this portion of His Word.

1. HAWKER, “principal point which arrests my attention, in the opening of this Chapter, is, what the sacred writer hath here said, of the Lord Jesus having given his commandments to his Apostles, through the Holy Ghost. The Reader will recollect, that the history of the Church, at the Ascension of Christ, opens in a more immediate manner, with the ministry of God the Holy Ghost. The commandments of the Lord Jesus therefore were, to direct their minds to the expectation of the Lord the Spirit, in his coming. Some more visible, more open display of His Almighty presence and power, they were taught to look for. And not a foot were they to go out of Jerusalem, until this had been accomplished, Luk_24:49. I would pray the Reader, therefore, to open this Chapter with the expectation of these momentous things. I would entreat him to be on the lookout, at every step he takes. The subject connected with the ministry of God the Holy Ghost, in his Person, Godhead, and Covenant offices, can never be too thoroughly understood, neither too closely regarded May the Lord the Spirit be our Teacher! 2. RAY STEDMA , "The book of Acts is the action book of the ew Testament, and it constitutes therefore one of the most exciting books of the Bible. The full name of it is, "The Acts Of The Apostles," but there are not many apostles mentioned in it. James, John, Peter, and Paul are the only ones who appear in any prominence. Through the centuries Christians have shortened this title and called it simply, "The Acts." I like that better for this is the book of action, revealing how God is at work through Christians. There is intense conflict throughout the book, but a conflict met by a ringing confidence that is wonderful to see. It is a record of power exercised in the midst of persecution; an account of life and health pouring from a living Christ into a sick society through the channel of obscure men and women, very much like you and me. We could never understand the ew Testament if we did not have the book of Acts, for it fills the gap that would exist between the Gospels and the book of Romans, which follows. At the end of the Gospels we find a handful of Jews gathered in Jerusalem talking about a kingdom to come to Israel. In the book of Romans we find an apostle who is not even mentioned in the Gospels, and who was not one of

the twelve, writing to a band of Christians in the capital city of Rome, talking about going to the ends of the earth. The book of Acts tells us how this happened, and why this change occurred. The first fourteen verses of chapter one constitute an introduction to the book of Acts, giving us the key to the book. Here we have revealed the essential strategy by which Jesus Christ proposes to change the world, a strategy which is the secret of the revolutionary character of the church when it is operating as it was intended to operate. I strongly suspect that most Christians suffer from a terrible inferiority complex when we confront the world around us. We have bought the idea of many around that the church is quite irrelevant, a not at all important segment of society. That view is absolutely false. The church is the most important body in the world today -- far and away beyond every other body -- because whatever happens in the world happens as a result of something that is, or is not, happening in the church. We shall see this clearly in this book of Acts. 3. EBC, "THESE words constitute the very brief preface which the writer
thought sufficient for the earliest ecclesiastical history ever produced in the Church of God. Let us imitate him in his brevity and conciseness, and without further delay enter upon the consideration of a book which raises vital questions and involves all-important issues. Now when a plain man comes to the consideration of this book one question naturally strikes him at once: How do I know who wrote this book, or when it was written? What evidence or guarantee have I for its authentic character? To these questions we shall apply ourselves in the present chapter. The title of the book as given in our Bibles does not offer us much help. The title varies in different manuscripts and in different ancient authors. Some writers of the second century who touched upon apostolic times call it by the name our Bibles retain, The Acts of the Apostles; others call it The Acts of the Holy Apostles, or at times simply The Acts. This title of "Acts" was indeed a very common one, in the second and third centuries, for a vast variety of writing purporting to tell the story of apostolic lives, as an abundance of extant apocryphal documents amply proves. The Acts of Paul and Thecla, the Acts of St. Thomas, of St. Peter, and of St. John, were imitations, doubtless, of the well-known name by which our canonical book was then called. Imitation is universally acknowledged to be the sincerest form of flattery, and the imitation of the title and form of our book is an evidence of its superior claim and authority. One of the oldest of these apocryphal Acts is a document celebrated in Christian antiquity as the Acts of Paul and Thecla. We know all about its origin. It was forged about the year 180 or 200 by a presbyter of Asia Minor who was an enthusiastic admirer of the Apostle St. Paul. But when we take up the narrative and read it, with its absurd legends and its manifold touches and realistic scenes drawn from the persecutions of the second century, and well known to every student of the original records of those times, we can at a glance see what the canonical Acts of the Apostles would have been had the composition been postponed to the end of the second century. The Acts of Paul and Thecla are useful, then, as illustrating, by way of contrast in title

and in substance, the genuine Acts of the New Testament which they imitated. But then, some one might say, how do we know that the genuine Acts of the Apostles existed prior to the Acts of Paul and Thecla and the time of Tertullian, who first mentions these apocryphal Acts, and tells us of their forged origin? The answer to that query is easy enough. Yet it will require a somewhat copious statement in order to exhibit its full force, its convincing power. Tertullian is a writer who connects the age of apostolic men, as we may call the men who knew the Apostles-Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement of Rome, and such like-with the third century. Tertullian was born about the middle of the second century, and he lived till the third century was well advanced. He was one of those persons whose chronological position enables them to transmit historical facts and details from one critical point to another. Let me illustrate what I mean by a modern example. Every unprejudiced thinker will acknowledge that the Rev. John Wesley was a man who exercised an extraordinary religious influence. He not only originated a vast community of world-wide extent, which calls itself after his name, but he also imparted a tremendous impetus to spiritual life and work in the Church of England. After the departure of Mr. Wesley from this life his mantle fell upon a certain number of his leading followers, men like Adam Clarke, the commentator; Jabez Bunting, the organiser of modern Wesleyanism; Thomas Coke, Robert Newton, and Richard Watson, the author of the "Institutes of Theology." Several of these men lived far into this century, and there are at the present day thousands still alive who recollect some of them, while there are many still alive who can recollect all of them. Now let us draw a parallel with all reverence, and yet with perfect fairness. John Wesley began his life at the beginning of the eighteenth century as our Lord began His human life at the beginning of the first century. John Wesley’s immediate disciples perpetuated their lives till the middle of the present century. Our Lord’s apostles and immediate followers perpetuated their lives in some cases till well into. the second century. At the close of the nineteenth century there are hundreds, to say the least, who remember Adam Clarke and Thomas Coke, who in turn were personally acquainted with John Wesley. In the last quarter of the second century there must have been many still alive-apostolic men, I have called themwhose youthful memories could bear them back to the days when the Apostle St. John, and men like St. Mark, and St. Luke, and St. Ignatius, still testified what they had personally seen and heard and known. Why, the simple fact is this, that in the year 1950 there will be still living numerous persons who will be able to say that they have personally known many individuals who were the friends and acquaintances of John Wesley’s immediate disciples. Four long lives of ninety years, and one overlapping the other, will easily cover three centuries of time. Let us dwell a little more on this point, for it bears very directly on Tertullian’s witness, not only to the canon of the New Testament, but also to the whole round of Christian doctrine. It is simply wonderful what vast tracts of time can be covered by human memory even at the present day, when that faculty has lost so much of its power for want of exercise, owing to the printing-press. I can give a striking instance from my own knowledge.

There is at present an acquaintance of mine living in this city of Dublin where I write. He is hale and hearty, and able still to take the keenest interest in the affairs of religion and of politics. He is about ninety-five years of age, and he has told me within the last twelve months that he remembers quite well a grandaunt of his born in the reign of Queen Anne, who used to tell him all the incidents connected with the earliest visits of John and Charles Wesley to Ireland about 1745. If Tertullian’s experience was anything like my own, he may quite easily have known persons at Rome or elsewhere who had heard the tale of St. Paul’s preaching, labour, and miracles from the very men whom the Apostle had converted at Antioch, Damascus, and Rome. I can give a more striking instance still, which any reader can verify for himself. Mr. S. C. Hall was a writer known far and wide for the last seventy years. About the middle of this century Mr. Hall was at the height of his popularity, though he only passed to the unseen world within the last year or so. In the year 1842 he, in union with his accomplished and well-known wife, composed a beautifully illustrated work, published in three volumes, called "Picturesque Ireland," which now finds an honoured place in many of our libraries. In the second volume of that work Mr. Hall mentions the following curious fact bearing on our argument. He states that he was then (in 1842) staying at the house of a gentleman, Sir T. Macnaghten, whose father had commanded at the siege of Derry in 1689, one hundred and fifty-three years before. Yet, vast as the distance of time was, the explanation which he offered was easy enough. The Macnaghten Clan was summoned to assist in the celebrated siege of Derry. They refused to march unless headed by their chief, who was then a boy of seven. The child was placed on a horse and duly headed his clan, who would follow him alone. That child married when a very old man, and his eldest son attained to an equally patriarchal age, carrying with him the traditions of Jacobite times down to the reign of Queen Victoria. I could give many other similar instances, illustrating my contention that vivid and accurate traditions of the past can be transmitted over vast spaces of time, and that through persons who come into living contact with one another. Tertullian must have had ample means, then, of ascertaining the facts concerning the books of the New Testament from living witnesses. There is again another point we must bear in mind, and it is this: the distance of time with which Tertullian’s investigations had to deal was not so vast as we sometimes imagine. It was by no means so great as the spaces we have just now referred to. We naturally think of Tertullian as living about the year 200, and then, remembering that our Saviour was born just two centuries before, we ask, What is the value of a man’s testimony concerning events two centuries old? But we must bear in mind the exact point at issue. We are not inquiring at all about events two centuries old, but we are inquiring as to Tertullian’s evidence with respect to the canonical Gospels and the Acts; and none of these was one hundred years old when Tertullian was born, about 150 A.D., while the Gospel of St. John may not have been more than sixty years old, or thereabouts, at the same date. Now if we take up the writings of Tertullian, which are very copious indeed, we shall find that the Acts of the Apostles are quoted at least one hundred times in them, long passages being in some cases transcribed, and the whole book treated by him as Scripture and true history. If we accept the ordinary view, that the Acts were written previously to St. Paul’s death, the book was only a century

old at Tertullian’s birth. But we can come nearer to the apostolic times. The Muratorian Fragment is a document which came to light by chance one hundred and fifty years ago. It illustrates the age of the Acts, and shows what wondrous testimonies to the New Testament scriptures we may yet gain. Its story is a very curious and interesting one for ourselves. St. Columbanus was an Irish missionary who, about the year 600 A.D., established a monastery at Bobbio, a retired spot in North Italy. He gathered a library there, and imparted a literary impulse to his followers which never left them. Some Irish monk, a hundred years later than Columbanus, employed his time in copying into a book an ancient manuscript of the second century giving a list of the books of the New Testament then received at Rome. This second-century manuscript enumerated among these the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and thirteen Epistles of St. Paul. Concerning the Acts of the Apostles, the Roman writer of this document, who lived about A.D. 170, Says: "The Acts of all the Apostles are written in one book. Luke explains to the most excellent Theophilus everything which happened in his presence, as the omission of Peter’s martyrdom and of Paul’s journey into Spain manifestly proves"; a passage which clearly shows that about the middle of the second century the Acts of the Apostles was well known at Rome, and its authorship ascribed to St. Luke. But this is not all. We have another most interesting secondcentury document, which proves that at the very same period our canonical book was known and authoritatively quoted far away in the south of France. It is hard to exaggerate the evidential value of the Epistle of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne written about the year 177, and addressed to their brethren in Asia Minor. That letter quotes the books of the New Testament in the amplest manner, and without any formal references, just as a modern preacher or writer would quote them, showing how common and authoritative was their use. Leader-writers in the Times or the Sunday Review often garnish their articles with a scriptural quotation; the late Mr. John Bright, in his great popular orations, loved to point them with an apt citation from Holy Writ; but he never thought it necessary, nor do journalists ever think it necessary, to prefix a formal statement of the place whence their texts have been derived. They presume a wide knowledge and a formal recognition of the text of the Bible. So it was in this epistle written from Lyons and Vienne, and in it we find an exact quotation from the Acts of the Apostles-"According as Stephen the perfect martyr prayed, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." But this is not the whole of the argument which can be derived from the Epistle of the Lyonnese Christians, which is given to us at full length in the fifth book of the "Church History" of the celebrated historian Eusebius. Their incidental notice of the Acts involves a vast deal when duly considered. The Epistle from Lyons implies that the Acts were received as authoritative and genuine in the churches of towns like Ephesus, Philadelphia, Smyrna, Miletus, where the memories and traditions of the Apostles were still vivid and living. Then, too, the Bishop of Lyons had suffered in this persecution. His name was Pothinus. He was the first Bishop of the Church of Lyons, and he died when he was more than ninety years of age, and may have been a disciple of an apostle, or of one of the first generation of Christians. At any rate, his memory would easily carry him

back to the days of Domitian and the times of the first century; and yet the Church over which this first-century Christian presided accepted the Acts of the Apostles. The testimony of Pothinus helps then to carry back the Acts of the Apostles to the year 100 at least. But we can go farther still, and closer to apostolic times. The Gospel of St. Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are, we may say, universally admitted to be by the same writer. The reference of the Acts to the Gospel, the unity of style and tone of thought, all demonstrate them to be the production of one mind. Any circumstance therefore which proves the early existence of the Gospel equally proves the existence of the Acts of the Apostles. Now we have proof positive that the Gospel of St. Luke occupied an authoritative position and was counted an apostolic and sacred writing at Rome in the early years of the second century, say between too and 150, because when Marcion, whom we might call a primitive Antinomian, wished to compile a gospel suited to his own purposes, he took St. Luke s Gospel, cut out whatever displeased him, and published the remainder as the true version. The perversion and mutilation of St. Luke’s work show that it must already have held a high position in the Church at Rome, or else there would have been no object in mutilating it. Marcion’s treatment of St. Luke proves the use and position the Gospel and the Acts must have occupied in days when the converts and companions of the Apostles were still alive. That is as far as we can go back by external testimony. But then we must remember what these facts involve-that the Gospel and the Acts occupied authoritative positions in various parts of the world, and specially in Rome, Gaul, Africa, and Asia Minor, in the generation next after the Apostles. Then let us take up the Book of Acts itself, and what does this book, known at Rome and throughout the Christian world at that early period, tell us? It informs us that it was the work of the writer of the Gospel, and that the writer was a companion of the Apostle Paul throughout the portion of his career sketched in the latter part of the book. The Christian Church has never pinned its faith to the Lukian authorship of either the Gospel or the Acts. The question of the authorship of these books is an open one, like that of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Acts has been attributed to Silas, to Timothy, to Titus; but I may say, without going into any further details on this question, that every attempt to ascribe the Acts to any one else save to the beloved physician has failed, and must fail, because he was the real author, well known to the living tradition of the Church of Rome in the early part of the second century, as that tradition is handed down to us in the language at the Muratorian Fragment. If we were writing a critical treatise, we should of course have to enter upon the full discussion of many questions which might here be raised. The Acts of the Apostles in its latter chapters plainly claims to be the work of an eyewitness. In its opening words, placed at the head of this dissertation, it claims to be the work of the author of the Gospel. All the facts fall into a simple, natural order if we accept the traditional testimony of the Church that the Acts and the Gospel were both of them written before the martyrdom of St. Paul, and were indited by the hands of St. Paul’s companion St. Luke. Any other solution is forced, unnatural, and involves inconsistencies on every side. We may turn aside from this brief outline of the critical question, to some more purely spiritual reflections, simply

referring those who desire more information on the questions of date and authorship to such exhaustive works as those of Dr. Salmon’s "Introduction to the New Testament"; Dr. Westcott on the "New Testament Canon"; Dr. Charteris on "Canonicity," or Meyer’s "Introduction to the Acts." First, then, it may strike the intelligent reader, how comes it that we have not much fuller testimony in early Christian writers to the Acts of the Apostles, and to all the books of the Old Testament? How is it that the writings of Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement of Rome, do not abound with references, not merely to the Acts, but also to the four Gospels and to the other works of the New Testament? How is it that we have to depend on this obscure reference and that dubious quotation? These are questions which had often puzzled my own mind before I had investigated, and must often have raised anxiety and thought in other minds sincerely desirous of being rooted and grounded in the truth. But now, after having investigated and thought, I think I can see solid reasons why things are as they are; clear evidences of the truth of the Christian story in the apparent difficulties. Historic imagination is one of the necessary requisites in such an investigation, and historic imagination is one of the qualities in which our German cousins, from whom most of the objections to the canon of the New Testament have been derived, are conspicuously deficient. They are gifted with prodigous industry, and an amazing capacity for patient investigation. They live secluded lives, however, and no one is a worse judge of practical life, or forms wilder conclusions as to what men actually do in practical life, than the academic pure and simple. A dear friend, now with God, himself a distinguished resident of a well-known college, used often to say to me, "Never trust the opinion of a mere college fellow or professor upon any practical point; they know nothing about life." This dictum, begotten of long experience, bears on our argument. German thought and English thought offer sharp and strong contrasts on many points, and on none more than in this direction. English students mix more in the world, are surrounded by the atmosphere of free institutions, and realise more vividly how men spontaneously act under the conditions of actual existence. The German thinker evolves his men of the past and the facts of their existence out of his own consciousness, without submitting them to the necessary corrections which experience dictates to his English brother; and the result is that while we may be very ready to accept the premises of the Germans, we should be in general somewhat suspicious of their conclusions. Scholarship alone does not entitle a man to pronounce on questions of history. It is only one of the elements requisite for the solution of such problems. Knowledge of men, experience of life, enabling a man to form a just and true mental picture of the past and of the motives by which men are influenced, -these are elements equally necessary. Now let us try and throw ourselves back by an effort of historical imagination into the age of Polycarp, Ignatius, and Clement of Rome. and I think we shall at once see that the omission of such abundant references to the New Testament as men at times desiderate was quite natural in their case. Let us reflect a little. The manner in which the early Christians learned the facts and truths of Christianity was quite different from that which now prevails. If men wish now to learn about original Christianity they resort to the New Testament. In the age of Polycarp they resorted to the living voice

of the elders who had known the Apostles, and had heard the truth from their lips. Thus Irenaeus, who had the four Gospels before him, tells us: "I can recall the very place where Polycarp used to sit and teach, his manner of speech, his mode of life, his appearance, the style of his address to the people. his frequent references to St. John and to others who had seen our Lord; how he used to repeat from memory the discourses which he had heard from them concerning our Lord, His miracles, and His mode of teaching; and how, being instructed himself by those who were eyewitnesses of the Life of the Word, there was in all that he said a strict agreement with the Scriptures." And it is very natural that men, though possessed of the Gospels, should thus have delighted in the testimony of elders like Polycarp. There is a charm in the human voice, there is a force and power in living testimony, far superior to any written words. Take, for instance, the account of a battle contributed to a newspaper by the bestinformed correspondent. Yet how men will hang on the lips and follow with breathless attention the narrative of the humblest actor in the actual contest. This one fact, known to common experience, shows how different the circumstances of the early Christians were as touching the canonical books from those which now exist, or existed in the third and fourth centuries. Again, we must remember that in the age of Polycarp there was no canon of the New Testament as we have it. There were a number of books here and there known to have been written by the Apostles and their immediate followers. One Church could show the Epistle written by St. Paul to the Ephesians, another that written to the Colossians. Clement of Rome, when writing to the Corinthians, expressly refers them to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which possibly was treasured by them as their one sacred document of the new covenant; and so it was doubtless all over the Christian world till well-nigh the close of the second century. The New Testament was dispersed in portions, a few leading Churches possessing perhaps all or most of the books, and a few remote ones probably only a few detached epistles, or a solitary gospel. A Greek document found in the National Library at Paris within the last few years illustrates this point. The Scillitan martyrs were a body of Africans who sealed their testimony to the faith by suffering martyrdom in the year 180, about three years after the sufferings of the Christians of Lyons and Vienne. North Africa, now the chosen home of the false prophet, was then the most fruitful field for the religion of the Crucified, yielding doctors, saints, confessors, in multitudes. The document which has now come to light tells the story of these North Africans and their testimony to the truth. The details of their judicial examination are there set forth, and in one question, proposed by the heathen magistrate, we have an interesting glimpse of the very point upon which we are insisting, the scattered and detached nature of the New Testament writings at that period. The President of the Roman Court, in the course of his examination, asks the leader of the martyrs, St. Speratus, "What are those books in your cases?" "They are," he replied, "the epistles of that holy man Paul." So that apparently the Scillitan Church depended for instruction, in the closing years of the second century, upon the Epistles of St. Paul alone. The canon of the New Testament grew up by degrees, somehow thus. While the Apostles and their followers and the friends of their followers lived and flourished, men naturally sought after their living testimonies, consulting

doubtless such documents as well which lay within their reach. But when the living witnesses and their friends had passed away, the natural instinct of the Church, guided by that Spirit of Truth which in the darkest times has never wholly left Christ’s Spouse, led her to treasure up and dwell with greater love upon those written documents which she had possessed from the beginning. It is no wonder, then, that we do not find large quotations and copious references to the canonical books in the earliest writers-simply because it was impossible they should then have occupied the same place in the Christian consciousness as they now do. Rather, on the contrary, we should be inclined to say that, had they been largely quoted and frequently referred to by Polycarp, Ignatius, or Clement, men might naturally have derived therefrom a forcible argument against the genuine character of the works of these primitive Fathers, as such quotations would have been contrary to the principles of human nature. It is very important for us to remember these facts. They have a very clear bearing upon present-day controversies. Friends and foes of Christianity have often thought that the truth of our religion was bound up with the traditional view of the canon of the New Testament, or with some special theory of inspiration; forgetting the self-evident truth that Christianity existed at the beginning without a canon of the New Testament, that the early Christians depended upon personal testimony alone, and that if the Apostles and their friends had never written a line or left a solitary document behind them, yet that we should have abundant information concerning the work and teachings of our Lord and His Apostles in the writings of the successors of the Apostles, compared with and fortified by contemporaneous pagan testimony. Men have sometimes thought and spoken as if the New Testament descended from-heaven in its present shape, like the image that fell down from Jupiter which the Ephesians worshipped, forgetting the true history of its upgrowth and origin. The critical theories that have been advanced in abundance of late years would have troubled a second-century Christian very little. If the Johannine authorship of the fourth Gospel were denied, or the Pauline authorship of Colossians or Ephesians questioned; what does it matter? would have been his reply. These documents may have been forgeries, but there are plenty of other documents which tell the same story, and I have myself known many men who have suffered and died because they had embraced the truths, from the lips of the Apostles themselves, which they have taught me. The simple fact is, that if all the books of the New Testament were proved impudent forgeries except the Epistle to the Romans, the two Epistles to the Corinthians, and the Calatians, which every person admits, we should have ample and convincing statements of Christian truth and doctrine. The devout Christian may, then, make his mind easy, certain that no efforts and no advances in the field of biblical criticism are likely to ruffle even a feather of the faith once delivered to the saints. But then, some one may come forward and say, is not this a very uncomfortable position for us? Would it not have been much more easy and consoling for Christians to have had the whole canon of Scripture infallibly decided by Divine authority once for all, so as to save all doubts and disputations on the whole subject? Would it not have been better had the Acts of the Apostles expressly named St. Luke as its author, and appended ample proofs that its statement was true? This objection is a very natural

one, and springs up at times in every mind; and yet it is merely part and parcel of the larger objection, Why has Revelation been left a matter of doubt and disputation in any respect? Nay, it is part of a still wider and vaster question, Why has truth in any department, scientific, philosophical, ethical, or historical, been left a matter of debate? Why has it not shone forth by its own inherent light and compelled the universal consent of admiring mankind? Why has not the great fundamental truth of all, the existence and nature of God, been made so clear that an atheist could not possibly exist? A century and a half ago Bishop Butler, in his immortal "Analogy," disposed of this objection, which still crops up afresh in every generation as if that work had never been written. God has placed us here in a state of probation, and neither in temporal nor in spiritual matters is the evidence for what is true, and right, and wise so clear and overwhelming that no room is left for mistake or error. As it is in every other department of life, so is it especially with reference to the canon of Scripture. It would doubtless be very convenient for us if the whole question were settled authoritatively and no doubts possible, but would it be good for us? would it be wholesome for our spiritual life? I trow not. We have, indeed, a living and speaking example of the blessings of uncertainty in the state of the Roman Catholic Church, which has tried to better the Divine method of training mankind, and banish all uncertainty. That communion undertakes to settle infallibly all questions of theology, and to leave nothing in doubt; and with what result? The vast body of the laity take no interest whatsoever in theological questions. They regard theology as outside their sphere, and belonging to the clergy exclusively. The clergy in turn believe that the Pope, in his office of infallible and universal pastor and teacher, has alone the right and authority to settle doctrines, and they leave it to him. They have made a solitude, and that they call peace, and the pretence alone of an authority which undertakes to release man from doubt and the need of investigation has paralysed theological inquiry among Roman Catholics. The same results on a vastly larger scale must have happened throughout the Christian world had God made His revelation so clear that no doubt could arise concerning it. Man is a lazy animal by nature, and that laziness would at once have been developed by the very abundance of the light vouchsafed. Religion would have been laid aside as a thing settled once for all. All interest would have been lost in it, and human attention would have been concentrated on those purely mundane matters where uncertainty arises, and therefore imperiously demands the mind’s thought and care. The blessings of uncertainty would offer a very wide topic for meditation. The man of vast wealth whose bread is certain can never know the childlike faith whereby the poor man waits upon his God and receives from Him day by day his daily dole. The uncertainties of life hide from us much future sorrow, teach us to walk by faith, not by sight, and lead us to depend completely on the loving guidance of that Fatherly Hand which does all things well. The uncertainties of life develop the spiritual life of the soul. The doubts and questions which arise about religion bring their own blessings with them too. They develop the intellectual life of the spirit. They prevent religion becoming a matter of superstition, they offer opportunities for the exercise of the graces of honesty, courage, humility, and love; and thus form an Important element in that Divine training by which man is fitted here below for the beatific vision which awaits him hereafter. Human

nature ever craves with longing desire to walk by sight. The Divine method evermore prescribes, on the contrary, that man must for the present walk by faith. Very wisely indeed, and with truest spiritual instinct, the poet of the "Christian Year" has sung, in words applicable to life and to theology alike:"There are who, darkling and alone, Would wish the weary night were gone, Though dawning morn should only show The secret of their unknown woe: Who pray for sharpest throbs of pain To ease them of doubt’s galling chain: ‘Only disperse the cloud,’ they cry, And if our fate be death, give light and let us die." "Unwise I deem them, Lord, unmeet To profit by Thy chastenings sweet, For Thou wouldst have us linger still Upon the verge of good or ill, That on Thy guiding hand unseen Our undivided hearts may lean, And this our frail and foundering bark Glide in the narrow wake of Thy beloved ark." The thoughts with which we have hitherto dealt connect themselves with the opening words of the text with which we have begun this chapter, "The former treatise I made, O Theophilus." There are two other points in this passage which are worthy of devout attention. The writer of the Acts took a thoroughly historical view of our Lord’s life after the resurrection as well as before that event. He considered that our Lord’s person, no matter how it may have been modified by His death and resurrection, was still as real after these events as in the days when He ministered and wrought miracles in Galilee and Jerusalem. His Whole life was continuous, from the day of the birth in Bethlehem "until the day He was taken up." Then again St. Luke recognises the dual personality of our Lord. As we shall afterwards have frequently to notice, St. Luke realised His Divine character. In the opening verses of this book he recognises His complete and perfect humanity-"After that He had given commandment through the Holy Ghost unto the Apostles." There was an ancient heresy about the nature of our Lord’s person, which denied the perfection of our Lord’s humanity, teaching that His Divinity took the place of the human spirit in Christ. Such teaching deprives us of much comfort and instruction which the Christian can draw from a meditation upon the true doctrine as taught here by St. Luke. Jesus Christ was God as well as man, but it was through the manhood He revealed the life and nature of God. He was perfect Man in all respects, with body, soul, and spirit complete; and in the actions of His manhood, in the exercise of all its various activities, He required the assistance and support of the Holy Ghost just as really as we ourselves do. He taught, gave commandments, worked miracles through the Holy Ghost. The humanity of the Eternal Son required the assistance of the Divine Spirit. Christ sought that Divine aid in prolonged communion with His Father and His God, and then went forth to work His miracles and give His commandments. Prayer and the gift of the Spirit and the works and marvels of Christ were closely

connected together, even before the open descent of the Spirit and the wonders of Pentecost. There was a covenant blessing and a covenant outpouring of the Spirit peculiar to Christianity Which was not vouchsafed till Christ had ascended. But the Divine Spirit had been given in a measure long before Christ came. It was through the Spirit that every blessing and every gift came to patriarchs, prophets, warriors, teachers, and workers of every kind under the Jewish dispensation. The Spirit of God came upon Bezaleel and Aholiab, qualifying them to work cunningly for the honour and glory of Jehovah when a tabernacle was to be feared. The Spirit of God came upon Samson, and roused his natural courage when Israel was to be delivered. The Spirit of God could rest even upon a Saul, and convert him for a time into a changed character. And just as really the Holy Ghost rested upon the human nature of Jesus Christ, guiding Him in the utterance of those commandments, the outcome and development of which we trace in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven 1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach

1. Barnes, “O Theophilus - See the notes on Luk_1:3. Since this book was written to
the same individual as the former, it was evidently written with the same design to furnish an authentic and full narrative of events concerning which there would be many imperfect and exaggerated accounts. See Luk_1:1-4. Since these events pertained to the descent of the Spirit, to the spread of the gospel, to the organization of the church, to the kind of preaching by which the church was to be collected and organized, and as the facts in the case constituted a full proof of the truth of the Christian religion, and the conduct of the apostles would be a model for ministers and the church in all future times, it was of great importance that a fair and full narrative of these things should be preserved. Luke was the companion of Paul in his travels, and was an eye-witness of no small part of the transactions recorded in this book. See Act_16:10, Act_16:17; Act_20:16; Acts 27; Acts 28. As an eye-witness, he was well qualified to make a record of the leading events of the primitive church. And as he was the companion of Paul, he had every opportunity of obtaining information about the great events of the gospel of Christ. Of all - That is, of the principal, or most important parts of the life and doctrines of

Christ. It cannot mean that he recorded all that Jesus did, as he had omitted many things that have been preserved by the other evangelists. The word “all” is frequently thus used to denote the most important or material facts. See Act_13:10; 1Ti_1:16; Jam_ 1:2; Mat_2:3; Mat_3:5; Act_2:5; Rom_11:26; Col_1:6. In each of these places the word here translated “all” occurs in the original, and means “many, a large part, the principal portion.” It has the same use in all languages. “This word often signifies, indefinitely, a large portion or number, or a great part” (Webster). That Jesus - The Syriac Version adds, “Jesus our Messiah.” This version was probably made in the second century. Began to do ... - This is a Hebrew form of expression; meaning the same thing as that Jesus did and taught. See Gen_9:20, “Noah began to be a farmer,” that is, was a farmer. Gen_2:3, in the Septuagint: “Which God began to create and make”; in the Hebrew, “which God created and made.” Mar_4:7, “began to send them forth by two and two,” that is, sent them forth. See also Mar_10:32; Mar_14:65, “And some began to spit on him”; in the parallel place in Mat_26:67, “they did spit in his face.” To do - This refers to his miracles and his acts of benevolence, including all that he did for man’s salvation. It probably includes, therefore, his sufferings, death, and resurrection, as a part of what he has done to save people. To teach - His doctrines. As the writer had given an account of what the Lord Jesus did, so he was now about to give a narrative of what his apostles did in the same cause, that thus the world might be in possession of an inspired record respecting the establishment of the Christian church. The record of these events preserved in the sacred narrative is one of the greatest blessings that God has conferred on mankind; and one of the highest privileges which people can enjoy is that which has been conferred so abundantly on this age in the possession of the Word of God.

2. Clarke, “The former treatise - The Gospel according to Luke, which is here most evidently intended. O Theophilus - See the note on Luk_1:3. To do and teach - These two words comprise his miracles and sermons. This introduction seems to intimate that, as he had already in his Gospel given an account of the life and actions of our Lord, so in this second treatise he was about to give an account of the lives and acts of some of the chief apostles, such as Peter and Paul.

3. Gill, “The former treatise have I made,.... Meaning the Gospel written by him
the Evangelist Luke, for from that he makes a transition to this, beginning here where he there left off; namely, at the ascension of Christ; see Luk_24:51. O Theophilus; See Gill on Luk_1:3. of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. This is a summary of his former treatise, his Gospel, which gave an account of what Christ began to do, and did; not of the common and private actions of his life; or of what was done, either in public, or private, throughout the whole of his life; for excepting that of his disputing with the doctors at twelve years of age, no account is given by him of what he did, till he was about thirty years of age; but of his extraordinary actions, of the miracles he wrought;

and these not all, and everyone of them; but many of them, and which were sufficient to prove him the Messiah; and particularly of all things he did relating to the salvation of his people; of the whole of his obedience; of his compliance with the ceremonial law; of his submission to baptism; of his holy life and conversation, and entire conformity to the law; of his sufferings and death, how that thereby he made full atonement for sin, brought in an everlasting righteousness, and obtained eternal redemption for his people: and not only Luke, in his Gospel, gave an account of these his actions, but also of many of his excellent discourses, his parables, and his sermons, whether delivered to the people in common, or to his own disciples: and now, as this was the subject of his former book, he intended in this latter to treat, as he does, of what the apostles of Christ began to do and teach.

4. Henry, “In these verses, I. Theophilus is put in mind, and we in him, of St. Luke's gospel, which it will be of use for us to cast an eye upon before we enter upon the study of this book, that we may not only see how this begins where that breaks off, but that, as in water face answers to face, so do the acts of the apostles to the acts of their Master, the acts of his grace. 1. His patron, to whom he dedicates this book (I should rather say his pupil, for he designs, in dedicating it to him, to instruct and direct him, and not to crave his countenance or protection), is Theophilus, Act_1:1. In the epistle dedicatory before his gospel, he had called him most excellent Theophilus; here he calls him no more than O Theophilus; not that he had lost his excellency, nor that it was diminished and become less illustrious; but perhaps he had now quitted his place, whatever it was, for the sake of which that title was given him, - or he was now grown into years, and despised such titles of respect more than he had done, - or Luke was grown more intimate with him, and therefore could address him with the more freedom. It was usual with the ancients, both Christian and heathen writers, thus to inscribe their writings to some particular persons. But the directing some of the books of the scripture so is an intimation to each of us to receive them as if directed to us in particular, to us by name; for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning. 2. His gospel is here called the former treatise which he had made, which he had an eye to in writing this, intending this for a continuation and confirmation of that, ton prōton
logon - the former word. What is written of the gospel is the word as truly as what was
spoken; nay, we now know no unwritten word that we are to give credit to, but as it agrees with that which is written. He made the former treatise, and now is divinely inspired to make this, for Christ's scholars must go on towards perfection, Heb_6:1. And therefore their guides must help them on, must still teach the people knowledge (Ecc_12:9), and not think that their former labours, though ever so good, will excuse them from further labours; but they should rather be quickened and encouraged by them, as St. Luke here, who, because he had laid the foundation in a former treatise, will build upon it in this. Let not this therefore drive out that; let not new sermons and new books make us forget old ones, but put us in mind of them, and help us to improve them. 3. The contents of his gospel were that, all that, which Jesus began both to do and teach; and the same is the subject of the writings of the other three evangelists. Observe, (1.) Christ both did and taught. The doctrine he taught was confirmed by the miraculous works he did, which proved him a teacher come from God (Joh_3:2); and the duties he taught were copied out in the holy gracious works he did, for he hath left us an example, and that such as proves him a teacher come from God too, for by their fruits you shall know them. Those are the best ministers that both do and teach, whose lives are a

constant sermon. (2.) He began both to do and teach; he laid the foundation of all that was to be taught and done in the Christian church. His apostles were to carry on and continue what he began, and to do and teach the same things. Christ set them in, and then left them to go on, but sent his Spirit to empower them both to do and teach. It is a comfort to those who are endeavouring to carry on the work of the gospel that Christ himself began it. The great salvation at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, Heb_ 2:3. (3.) The four evangelists, and Luke particularly, have handed down to us all that Jesus began both to do and to teach; not all the particulars - the world could not have contained them; but all the heads, samples of all, so many, and in such variety, that by them we may judge of the rest. We have the beginnings of his doctrine (Mat_4:17), and the beginnings of his miracles, Joh_2:11. Luke had spoken, had treated, of all Christ's sayings and doings, had given us a general idea of them, though he had not recorded each in particular.

5. Jamison, “began to do and teach — a very important statement, dividing the work
of Christ into two great branches: the one embracing His work on earth, the other His subsequent work from heaven; the one in His own Person, the other by His Spirit; the one the “beginning,” the other the continuance of the same work; the one complete when He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, the other to continue till His second appearing; the one recorded in “The Gospels,” the beginnings only of the other related in this book of “The Acts.” “Hence the grand history of what Jesus did and taught does not conclude with His departure to the Father; but Luke now begins it in a higher strain; for all the subsequent labors of the apostles are just an exhibition of the ministry of the glorified Redeemer Himself because they were acting under His authority, and He was the principle that operated in them all” [Olshausen].

6. F. B. MEYER , “Luke informs Theophilus (the name means “a lover of God”) that his Gospel told the story of what the Lord began to do and teach. Evidently this further book is a continuation of His deeds and words. It ought to be called “The Acts of the Ascended Christ.” The Gospel tells of what Jesus did through a mortal body; and this book what He did through the Church, which is His body, “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” Here we learn that the time between the Resurrection and the Ascension was forty days; that our Lord issued commandments, no doubt about the ordering of the Church; and that He spoke with the Apostles of the coming kingdom of God-that ideal society which is God’s great objective through the ages. It would not be established by the sword of the soldier, but by the witness-bearing of the evangelist, Act_1:8. 7. RWP, "The Title is simply Acts (Praxeis) in Aleph, Origen, Tertullian, Didymus,
Hilary, Eusebius, Epiphanius. The Acts of the Apostles (Praxeis apostolōn) is the reading of B D (Aleph in subscription) Athanasius, Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodoret, Hilary. The Acts of the Holy Apostles (Praxeis tōn hagiōn apostolōn) is read by A2 E G H A K Chrysostom. It is possible that the book was given no title at all by Luke, for it is plain that usage varied greatly even in the same writers. The long title as found in the Textus Receptus (Authorized Version) is undoubtedly wrong with the adjective “Holy.” The reading of B D, “The Acts of the Apostles,” may be accepted as

probably correct. The former treatise (ton men prōton). Literally, the first treatise. The use of the superlative is common enough and by no means implies, though it allows, a third volume. This use of prōtos where only two are compared is seen between the Baptist and Jesus (Joh_1:15), John and Peter (Joh_20:4). The idiom is common in the papyri (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 662, 669). The use of men solitarium here, as Hackett notes, is common in Acts. It is by no means true that men requires a following de by contrast. The word is merely a weakened form of mēn=surely, indeed. The reference is to the “first treatise” and merely emphasizes that. The use of logos (word) for treatise or historical narrative is common in ancient Greek as in Herodotus 6 and 9. Plato (Phaedo, p. 61 B) makes a contrast between muthos and logos. I made (epoiēsamēn). Aorist middle indicative, the middle being the usual construction for mental acts with poieō. O Theophilus (O Theophile). The interjection O here as is common, though not in Luk_1:3. But the adjective kratiste (most excellent) is wanting here. See remarks on Theophilus on Luk_1:3. Hackett thinks that he lived at Rome because of the way Acts ends. He was a man of rank. He may have defrayed the expense of publishing both Luke and Acts. Perhaps by this time Luke may have reached a less ceremonious acquaintance with Theophilus. Which Jesus began (hōn ērxato Iēsous). The relative is attracted from the accusative ha to the genitive hōn because of the antecedent pantōn (all). The language of Luke here is not merely pleonastic as Winer held. Jesus “began” “both to do and to teach” (poiein te kai didaskein). Note present infinitives, linear action, still going on, and the use of tekai binds together the life and teachings of Jesus, as if to say that Jesus is still carrying on from heaven the work and teaching of the disciples which he started while on earth before his ascension. The record which Luke now records is really the Acts of Jesus as much as the Acts of the Apostles. Dr. A. T. Pierson called it “The Acts of the Holy Spirit,” and that is true also. The Acts, according to Luke, is a continuation of the doings and teachings of Jesus. “The following writings appear intended to give us, and do, in fact, profess to give us, that which Jesus continued to do and teach after the day in which he was taken up” (Bernard, Progress of Doctrine in the N.T.).

8. VWS, "Began (ᅪρξατο)
This is interpreted in two ways. Either, (1), as a simple historical statement equivalent to “all that Jesus did and taught.” In favor of this is the fact that the synoptists often record that which is done or said according to its moment of commencement, thus giving vividness to the account. See Mat_11:20; Mat_26:22, Mat_ 26:37; Mar_6:7; Mar_14:19; Luk_7:38, etc. According to this explanation the word serves “to recall to the recollection from the Gospel all the several incidents and events, up to the ascension, in which Jesus had appeared as doer and teacher” (Meyer). Or, (2), as indicating that the Gospel contains the beginning, and the Acts of the Apostles the

continuation, of the doings and teachings of Jesus. “The earthly life of Jesus, concluded with the ascension, has its fruit and continued efficacy; and his heavenly life, commencing with the ascension, has its manifestation and proof in the acts and experiences of the apostles and first churches. The history of the Church was under the immediate control of the exalted Redeemer, and may justly be considered as the continuation in heaven of the work which he had begun on earth” (Baumgarten and Gloag). While the truth and importance of this statement are admitted, it is objected that such an intention on Luke's part would have been more clearly intimated, and not left to be inferred from a single doubtful phrase. As regards Luke's intention, I think the first explanation is more likely to be correct. The second, however, states a truth, the value and importance of which cannot be overestimated, and which should be kept in mind constantly in the study of the book of Acts. This is well put by Bernard (“Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament,” Lect. IV.): “Thus the history which follows is linked to, or (may I not rather say) welded with the past; and the founding of the Church in the earth is presented as one continuous work, begun by the Lord in person, and perfected by the same Lord through the ministry of men.... 'The former treatise' delivered to us, not all that Jesus did and taught, but 'all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day when he was taken up.' The following writings appear intended to give us, and do, in fact, profess to give us, that which Jesus continued to do and teach after the day in which he was taken up.”

9. CALVI , "That he may pass over unto those things which followed the ascension of Christ, he briefly gathereth the sum of all those which before he had handled in the former book, that he may annex this thereunto. And he briefly setteth down this description of the history of the gospel, that it is a narration of those things which Christ did and said so long as he was conversant upon earth. Furthermore, whereas they interpret this commonly, that there was first in Christ purity of life, before such time as he began to preach, it maketh nothing unto Luke’s mind. Truth it is, that the manners of a good and godly teacher ought so to be framed, that he speak first with his life, then with his tongue, otherwise he should differ nothing from a stage-player. But Luke hath respect rather unto that which he had said about the end of his gospel, (Luke 24:19,) namely, that Christ was a prophet mighty in deed and word, that is, such a one as did excel no less in deeds than in words; although there be but small difference betwixt these two places. For the mightiness of works which is commended there doth belong unto his miracles, but this, to do, doth reach further in my opinion, namely, that under the same are comprehended all the famous acts which were proper unto his ministry, wherein his death and resurrection are the chiefest. For the office of the Messias did not only consist in doctrine, but it was also behoveful that he should make peace between God and man, that he should be a Redeemer of the people, a restorer of the kingdom, and an author of everlasting felicity. All these things, I say, as they were promised of the Messias, so were they looked for at his hands. ow we see that the sum of the gospel consisteth of these two parts, namely, of the doctrine of Christ, and of his acts; forasmuch as he did not only bring unto men that embassage which was given him in charge of his Father, but also performed all things that could be required of the Messias. He began his kingdom, he pacified God

with his sacrifice, he purged man’s sins with his own precious blood, he subdued death and the devil, he restored us unto true liberty, he purchased righteousness and life for us. And to the end that whatsoever he either did or said might be certain, he proved himself by miracles to be the Son of God. So that this word, to do, is extended unto his miracles also; but it must not be restrained only unto the same. Here must we note, that those which have only the bare knowledge of the history have not the gospel; unless the knowledge of the doctrine which maketh manifest the fruits of the acts of Christ be adjoined thereunto. For this is a holy knot which no man may dissolve. Therefore, whensoever mention is made of the doctrine of Christ, let us learn to adjoin thereunto his works, as seals whereby the truth thereof is established and confirmed, and the effect declared. Furthermore, that we may reap commodity by his death and resurrection, and also that miracles may have their use, we must always have respect unto him that speaketh. For this is the true rule of Christianity. 1. Of all things which he began I do not greatly mislike the interpretation which some give of this place that Luke said rather of all than all; because it is possible in some measure to intreat of the works and doctrine of Christ, but to set down the whole course, that the narration may be perfect, were a matter of great 18 weight. Like as John doth declare that the world could not contain the books, (John 21:25.) That is also to be noted that Luke saith, that he began his history at the beginning of the works of Christ. But so soon as he hath declared the nativity of Christ, he passeth over unto the twelfth year of his age (Luke 2:42;) and after he had briefly spoken of his disputation had in the temple with the doctors, passing over eighteen years without speaking any thing of them, he entereth [on] the just narration of the works of Christ. It is, therefore, manifest that those works and sayings only which make any thing unto the sum of our salvation are noted in this place. For, after that Christ came abroad into the world clothed with our flesh, he lived privately at home until he was thirty years of age, at which time his Father put upon him another manner of person. God would have him to lead the former part of his life obscurely, to this end, that the knowledge of these things might be more excellent which do edify our faith. The former speech. It seemed good to me to translate this on this wise, because λογον ποιεισθὰι, is the same with the Grecians, which verba facere, or to speak, is with the Latins, as Budaeus doth note. And we must understand the contrariety of the second part, which he taketh in hand, that we may know that the evangelist determined with himself afresh to write, having new matter whereupon to write. 2 Even until that day. Therefore, the ascension of Christ is the end of the history of the gospel. For he hath ascended, saith Paul, that he might fulfill all things, (Ephesians 4:10.) Our faith gathereth other fruit thereby; but it shall be sufficient to note in this place, that our redemption was fully complete and finished then when Christ did ascend unto his Father; and, therefore, that Luke did fully perform his duty in this narration, as touching the doctrine and works of Christ. And he is said to be taken up, that we may know that he is truly departed out of this world, lest we should consent unto their dotings who think that in his ascension there was no alteration of place made. Commandment by the Holy Ghost Luke showeth in these words, that Christ did not

so depart out of the world that he did no longer care for us; for in that he hath ordained a perpetual government in his Church, he thereby declareth that he had a care to provide for our salvation; yea, he hath promised that he will be present with his to the end, (Matthew 28:20,) like as, indeed, he is always present by his ministers. Luke, therefore, doth show unto us, that Christ did no sooner depart hence, but straightway he provided for the government of his Church; whence we may gather that he is careful for our salvation. And this his providence hath Paul plainly noted in the place lately cited, when he saith, That he hath fulfilled all things, making some apostles, some evangelists, some pastors, etc. But these commandments, which the evangelist saith Christ gave unto his disciples, do I interpret of the preaching of the gospel; like as ambassadors use to be instructed with certain precepts before they go of their embassage, lest they should rashly attempt any thing contrary to his will and mind that sendeth them. And all this is spoken in commendation of that doctrine which the apostles taught. The which that it may appear more manifestly, every thing is to be marked in order as it lieth. First of all, he saith they were elect and chosen of Christ, that we may be certain of their calling unto that function. either doth he in this place set God’s election against man’s merits, but only affirmeth that they were raised up by God, and that they did not rashly take upon them this function. That is true, indeed, that they were freely chosen; but now have we to inquire what is Luke’s drift in this place. I say that he hath respect unto nothing else, but that we may be certain of the calling of the apostles, that we may learn not to have respect unto men, but unto the Son of God, the author thereof, because this must always be a maxim in the Church, that no man usurp any honor. Secondly, he saith, that they were instructed of Christ what they should do. As if he should say, that they uttered not their own inventions, but they delivered that sincerely and faithfully which was enjoined them by their heavenly Master. And to the end that that which Christ taught them might be the more reverenced, he addeth this, that this was done by the direction of the Holy Ghost. ot because the Son of God had any need to be guided by any other, who is eternal wisdom, but because he was also man, lest any man should think that he did deliver those things unto his disciples which he delivered by man’s wit and reason, he calleth us back expressly unto the divine authority. Like as the Lord himself doth so often affirm, that he taught nothing but that which he had received of his Father; and therefore he saith, that his doctrine was not his own. Therefore, he signifieth that in the preaching of the gospel there is nothing which issueth from man’s brain, but that it is the divine ordinance of the Spirit, whereunto the whole world must be subject. 10. ALEXA DER MACLARE , “So begins and so ends this Book. I connect the
commencement and the close, because I think that the juxtaposition throws great light upon the purpose of the writer, and suggests some very important lessons. The reference to ‘the former treatise’ (which is, of course, the Gospel according to Luke) implies that this Book is to be regarded as its sequel, and the terms of the reference show the writer’s own conception of what he was going to do in his second volume. ‘The former treatise have I made . . . of all that Jesus began both to do and teach until the day in which He was taken up.’ Is not the natural inference that the latter treatise will tell us what Jesus continued ‘to do and teach’ after He was taken up? I think so. And thus the writer sets

forth at once, for those that have eyes to see, what he means to do, and what he thinks his book is going to be about. So, then, the name ‘The Acts of the Apostles,’ which is not coeval with the book itself, is somewhat of a misnomer. Most of the Apostles are never heard of in it. There are, at the most, only three or four of them concerning whom anything in the book is recorded. But our first text supplies a deeper reason for regarding that title as inadequate, and even misleading. For, if the theme of the story be what Christ did, then the book is, not the ‘Acts of the Apostles,’ but the ‘Acts of Jesus Christ’ through His servants. He, and He alone, is the Actor; and the men who appear in it are but instruments in His hands, He alone being the mover of the pawns on the board. That conception of the purpose of the book seems to me to have light cast upon it by, and to explain, the singular abruptness of its conclusion, which must strike every reader. No doubt it is quite possible that the reason why the book ends in such a singular fashion, planting Paul in Rome, and leaving him there, may be that the date of its composition was that imprisonment of Paul in the Imperial City, in a part of which, at all events, we know that Luke was his companion. But, whilst that consideration may explain the point at which the book stops, it does not explain the way in which it stops. The historian lays down his pen, possibly because he had brought his narrative up to date. But a word of conclusion explaining that it was so would have been very natural, and its absence must have had some reason. It is also possible that the arrival of the Apostle in the Imperial City, and his unhindered liberty of preaching there, in the very centre of power, the focus of intellectual life, and the hot-bed of corruption for the known world, may have seemed to the writer an epoch which rounded off his story. But I think that the reason for the abruptness of the record’s close is to be found in the continuity of the work of which it tells a part. It is the unfinished record of an incomplete work. The theme is the work of Christ through the ages, of which each successive depository of His energies can do but a small portion, and must leave that portion unfinished; the book does not so much end as stop. It is a fragment, because the work of which it tells is not yet a whole. If, then, we put these two things-the beginning and the ending of the Acts-together, I think we get some thoughts about what Christ began to do and teach on earth; what He continues to do and teach in heaven; and how small and fragmentary a share in that work each individual servant of His has. Let us look at these points briefly. I. First, then, we have here the suggestion of what Christ began to do and teach on earth. Now, at first sight, the words of our text seem to be in strange and startling contradiction to the solemn cry which rang out of the darkness upon Calvary. Jesus said, ‘It is finished!’ and ‘gave up the ghost.’ Luke says He ‘began to do and teach.’ Is there any contradiction between the two? Certainly not. It is one thing to lay a foundation; it is another thing to build a house. And the work of laying the foundation must be finished before the work of building the structure upon it can be begun. It is one thing to create a force; it is another thing to apply it. It is one thing to compound a medicine; it is another thing to administer it. It is one thing to unveil a truth; it is another to unfold its successive applications, and to work it into a belief and practice in the world. The former is the work of Christ which was finished on earth; the latter is the work which is continuous throughout the ages.

‘He began to do and teach,’ not in the sense that any should come after Him and do, as
the disciples of most great discoverers and thinkers have had to do: namely, systematise, rectify, and complete the first glimpses of truth which the master had given. ‘He began to

do and teach,’ not in the sense that after He had ‘passed into the heavens’ any new truth or force can for evermore be imparted to humanity in regard of the subjects which He taught and the energies which He brought. But whilst thus His work is complete, His earthly work is also initial. And we must remember that whatever distinction my text may mean to draw between the work of Christ in the past and that in the present and the future, it does not mean to imply that when He ‘ascended up on high’ He had not completed the task for which He came, or that the world had to wait for anything more, either from Him or from others, to eke out the imperfections of His doctrine or the insufficiencies of His work. Let us ever remember that the initial work of Christ on earth is complete in so far as the revelation of God to men is concerned. There will be no other. There is needed no other. Nothing more is possible than what He, by His words and by His life, by His gentleness and His grace, by His patience and His Passion, has unveiled to all men, of the heart and character of God. The revelation is complete, and he that professes to add anything to, or to substitute anything for, the finished teaching of Jesus Christ concerning God, and man’s relation to God, and man’s duty, destiny, and hopes, is a false teacher, and to follow him is fatal. All that ever come after Him and say, ‘Here is something that Christ has not told you,’ are thieves and robbers, ‘and the sheep will not hear them.’ In like manner that work of Christ, which in some sense is initial, is complete as Redemption. ‘This Man has offered up one sacrifice for sins for ever.’ And nothing more can He do than He has done; and nothing more can any man or all men do than was accomplished on the Cross of Calvary as giving a revelation, as effecting a redemption, as lodging in the heart of humanity, and in the midst of the stream of human history, a purifying energy, sufficient to cleanse the whole black stream. The past work which culminated on the Cross, and was sealed as adequate and accepted of God in the Resurrection and Ascension, needs no supplement, and can have no continuation, world without end. And so, whatever may be the meaning of that singular phrase, ‘began to do and teach,’ it does not, in the smallest degree, conflict with the assurance that He hath ascended up on high, ‘having obtained eternal redemption for us,’ and ‘having finished the work which the Father gave Him to do.’ II. But then, secondly, we have to notice what Christ continues to do and to teach after His Ascension. I have already suggested that the phraseology of the first of my texts naturally leads to the conclusion that the theme of this Book of the Acts is the continuous work of the ascended Saviour, and that the language is not forced by being thus interpreted is very plain to any one who will glance even cursorily over the contents of the book itself. For there is nothing in it more obvious and remarkable than the way in which, at every turn in the narrative, all is referred to Jesus Christ Himself. For instance, to cull one or two cases in order to bring the matter more plainly before you-When the Apostles determined to select another Apostle to fill Judas’ place, they asked Jesus Christ to show which ‘of these two Thou hast chosen.’ When Peter is called upon to explain the tongues at Pentecost he says, ‘Jesus hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.’ When the writer would tell the reason of the large first increase to the Church, he says, ‘The Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.’ Peter and John go into the Temple to heal the lame man, and their words to him are, ‘Do not think that our power or holiness is any factor in your cure. The Name hath made this man whole.’ It is the Lord that appears to Paul and to Ananias, to the one on the road to Damascus and to the other in the city. It is the Lord to whom Peter refers Aeneas when he says, ‘Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.’ It was the Lord that ‘opened the heart of Lydia.’ It was the Lord that appeared to Paul in Corinth, and said to him, ‘I have much

people in this city’; and again, when in the prison at Jerusalem, He assured the Apostle that he would be carried to Rome. And so, at every turn in the narrative, we find that Christ is presented as influencing men’s hearts, operating upon outward events, working miracles, confirming His word, leading His servants, and prescribing for them their paths, and all which they do is done by the hand of the Lord with them confirming the word which they spoke. Jesus Christ is the Actor, and He only is the Actor; men are His implements and instruments. The same point of view is suggested by another of the characteristics of this book, which it shares in common with all Scripture narratives, and that is the stolid indifference with which it picks up and drops men, according to the degree in which, for the moment, they are the instruments of Christ’s power. Supposing a man had been writing Acts of the Apostles, do you think it would have been possible that of the greater number of them he should not say a word, that concerning those of whom he does speak he should deal with them as this book does, barely mentioning the martyrdom of James, one of the four chief Apostles; allowing Peter to slip out of the narrative after the great meeting of the Church at Jerusalem; letting Philip disappear without a hint of what he did thereafter; lodging Paul in Rome and leaving him there, with no account of his subsequent work or martyrdom? Such phenomena-and they might be largely multiplied-are only explicable upon one hypothesis. As long as electricity streams on the carbon point it glows and is visible, but when the current is turned to another lamp we see no more of the bit of carbon. As long as God uses a man the man is of interest to the writers of the Scriptures. When God uses another one, they drop the first, and have no more care about him, because their theme is not men and their doings, but God’s doings through men. On us, and in us, and by us, and for us, if we are His servants, Jesus Christ is working all through the ages. He is the Lord of Providence, He is the King of history, in His hand is the book with the seven seals; He sends His Spirit, and where His Spirit is He is; and what His Spirit does He does. And thus He continues to teach and to work from His throne in the heavens. He continues to teach, not by the communication of new truth. That is finished. The volume of Revelation is complete. The last word of the divine utterances hath been spoken until that final word which shall end Time and crumble the earth. But the application of the completed Revelation, the unfolding of all that is wrapped in germ in it; the growing of the seed into a tree, the realisation more completely by individuals and communities of the principles and truths which Jesus Christ has brought us by His life and His death-that is the work that is going on to-day, and that will go on till the end of the world. For the old Puritan belief is true, though the modern rationalistic mutilations of it are false, ‘God hath more light yet to break forth’-and our modern men stop there. But what the sturdy old Puritan said was, ‘more light yet to break forth from His holy Word.’ Jesus Christ teaches the ages-through the lessons of providence and the communication of His Spirit to His Church-to understand what He gave the world when He was here. In like manner He works. The foundation is laid, the healing medicine is prepared, the cleansing element is cast into the mass of humanity; what remains is the application and appropriation, and incorporation in conduct, of the redeeming powers that Jesus Christ has brought. And that work is going on, and will go on, till the end. Now these truths of our Lord’s continuous activity in teaching and working from heaven may yield us some not unimportant lessons. What a depth and warmth and reality the thoughts give to the Christian’s relation to Jesus Christ! We have to look back to that Cross as the foundation of all our hope. Yes! But we have to think, not only of a Christ who did something for us long ago in the past, and there an end, but of a Christ who today lives and reigns, ‘to do and to teach’ according to our necessities. What a sweetness

and sacredness such thoughts impart to all external events, which we may regard as being the operation of His love, and as moved by the hands that were nailed to the Cross for us, and now hold the sceptre of the universe for the blessing of mankind! What a fountain of hope they open in estimating future probabilities of victory for truth and goodness! The forces of good and evil in the world seem very disproportionate, but we forget too often to take Christ into account. It is not we that have to fight against evil; at the best we are but the sword which Christ wields, and all the power is in the hand that wields it. Great men die, good men die; Jesus Christ is not dead. Paul was martyred: Jesus lives; He is the anchor of our hope. We see miseries and mysteries enough, God knows. The prospects of all good causes seem often clouded and dark. The world has an awful power of putting drags upon all chariots that bear blessings, and of turning to evil every good. You cannot diffuse education, but you diffuse the taste for rubbish and something worse, in the shape of books. No good thing but has its shadow of evil attendant upon it. And if we had only to estimate by visible or human forces, we might well sit down and wrap ourselves in the sackcloth of pessimism. ‘We see not yet all things put under Him’; but ‘we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour,’ and the vision that cheered the first martyr-of Christ ‘standing at the right hand of God’-is the rebuke of every fear and every gloomy anticipation for ourselves or for the world. What a lesson of lowliness and of diligence it gives us! The jangling church at Corinth fought about whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas was the man to lead the Church, and the experience has been repeated over and over again. ‘Who is Paul? Who is Apollos? but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man. Be not puffed up one against another. Be not wise in your own conceits.’ You are only a tool, only a pawn in the hand of the Great Player. If you have anything, it is because you get it from Him. See that you use it, and do not boast about it. Jesus Christ is the Worker, the only Worker; the Teacher, the only Teacher. All our wisdom is derived, all our light is enkindled. We are but the reeds through which His breath makes music. And ‘shall the axe boast itself,’ either ‘against’ or apart from ‘Him that heweth therewith’? III. Lastly, we note the incompleteness of each man’s share in the great work. As I said, the book which is to tell the story of Christ’s continuous unfinished work must stop abruptly. There is no help for it. If it was a history of Paul it would need to be wound up to an end and a selvage put to it, but as it is the history of Christ’s working, the web is not half finished, and the shuttle stops in the middle of a cast. The book must be incomplete, because the work of which it is the record does not end until ‘He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father, and God shall be all in all.’ So the work of each man is but a fragment of that great work. Every man inherits unfinished tasks from his predecessors, and leaves unfinished tasks to his successors. It is, as it used to be in the Middle Ages, when the hands that dug the foundations, or laid the first courses, of some great cathedral, were dead long generations before the gilded cross was set on the apex of the needlespire, and the glowing glass filled in to the painted windows. Enough for us, if we lay a stone, though it be but one stone in one of the courses of the great building. Luke has left plenty of blank paper at the end of his second ‘treatise,’ on which he meant that succeeding generations should write their partial contributions to the completed work. Dear friends, let us see that we write our little line, as monks in their monasteries used to keep the chronicle of the house, on which scribe after scribe toiled at its illuminated letters with loving patience for a little while, and then handed the pen from his dying hand to another. What does it matter though we drop, having done but a

fragment? He gathers up the fragments into His completed work, and the imperfect services which He enabled any of us to do will all be represented in the perfect circle of His finished work. The Lord help us to be faithful to the power that works in us, and to leave Him to incorporate our fragments in His mighty whole! 11. CALVIN, "That he may pass over unto those things which followed the ascension of Christ, he briefly gathereth the sum of all those which before he had handled in the former book, that he may annex this thereunto. And he briefly setteth down this description of the history of the gospel, that it is a narration of those things which Christ did and said so long as he was conversant upon earth. Furthermore, whereas they interpret this commonly, that there was first in Christ purity of life, before such time as he began to preach, it maketh nothing unto Luke’s mind. Truth it is, that the manners of a good and godly teacher ought so to be framed, that he speak first with his life, then with his tongue, otherwise he should differ nothing from a stage-player. But Luke hath respect rather unto that which he had said about the end of his gospel, (Luke 24:19,) namely, that Christ was a prophet mighty in deed and word, that is, such a one as did excel no less in deeds than in words; although there be but small difference betwixt these two places. For the mightiness of works which is commended there doth belong unto his miracles, but this, to do, doth reach further in my opinion, namely, that under the same are comprehended all the famous acts which were proper unto his ministry, wherein his death and resurrection are the chiefest. For the office of the Messias did not only consist in doctrine, but it was also behoveful that he should make peace between God and man, that he should be a Redeemer of the people, a restorer of the kingdom, and an author of everlasting felicity. All these things, I say, as they were promised of the Messias, so were they looked for at his hands. Now we see that the sum of the gospel consisteth of these two parts, namely, of the doctrine of Christ, and of his acts; forasmuch as he did not only bring unto men that embassage which was given him in charge of his Father, but also performed all things that could be required of the Messias. He began his kingdom, he pacified God with his sacrifice, he purged man’s sins with his own precious blood, he subdued death and the devil, he restored us unto true liberty, he purchased righteousness and life for us. And to the end that whatsoever he either did or said might be certain, he proved himself by miracles to be the Son of God. So that this word, to do, is extended unto his miracles also; but it must not be restrained only unto the same. Here must we note, that those which have only the bare knowledge of the history have not the gospel; unless the knowledge of the doctrine which maketh manifest the fruits of the acts of Christ be adjoined thereunto. For this is a holy knot which no man may dissolve. Therefore, whensoever mention is made of the doctrine of Christ, let us learn to adjoin thereunto his works, as seals whereby the truth thereof is established and confirmed, and the effect declared. Furthermore, that we may reap commodity by his death and resurrection, and also that miracles may have their use, we must always have respect unto him that speaketh. For this is the true rule of Christianity. 1. Of all things which he began I do not greatly mislike the interpretation which some give of this place that Luke said rather of all than all; because it is possible in some measure to intreat of the works and doctrine of Christ, but to set down the whole course, that the narration may be perfect, were a matter of great 18 weight. Like as John doth declare that the world could not contain the books, (John 21:25.) That is also to be noted that Luke saith, that he began his history at the beginning of the works of Christ. But so soon as he hath declared the nativity of Christ, he passeth over unto the twelfth year of his age (Luke 2:42;) and after he had briefly spoken of his disputation had in the temple

with the doctors, passing over eighteen years without speaking any thing of them, he entereth [on] the just narration of the works of Christ. It is, therefore, manifest that those works and sayings only which make any thing unto the sum of our salvation are noted in this place. For, after that Christ came abroad into the world clothed with our flesh, he lived privately at home until he was thirty years of age, at which time his Father put upon him another manner of person. God would have him to lead the former part of his life obscurely, to this end, that the knowledge of these things might be more excellent which do edify our faith. The former speech. It seemed good to me to translate this on this wise, because λογον ποιεισθὰι, is the same with the Grecians, which verba facere, or to speak, is with the Latins, as Budaeus doth note. And we must understand the contrariety of the second part, which he taketh in hand, that we may know that the evangelist determined with himself afresh to write, having new matter whereupon to write. 12. BI, "A true commencement must have respect to what has gone before In any new beginning of study or work, it is important to have in mind what has been done before in the same line. No one can learn or do to advantage, unless he avails himself of what others have learned and done before him. Any other plan would utterly forbid progress. The world would be full of new beginnings—and nothing else. He who would study the New Testament wisely, must know what the Old Testament has disclosed. He who would get good from the Book of Acts must have in mind at the start the facts and teachings of the former treatise by the same author. (H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)

The Gospels and the Acts I. Their relation. In determining this it is not enough to say that while the Gospels contain the history of the Master’s ministry, the Acts record that of the apostles. Both alike narrate the work of the Lord: the Gospels what He did in Person, the Acts what He did by His chosen witnesses. This relation is marked at its outset. If the former treatise records “all that Jesus began,” then the present relates what Jesus continued. His incarnation, death, etc., were only the foundation. In the Acts He rears a lofty temple on that foundation. Nor does the work cease with the abrupt conclusion of the Acts. In a city map you mark the road which leads to another city a little beyond the wall, when it breaks off. To trace it further you require another map. So our Lord’s path breaks off on the map of inspiration and is continued on the map of providence. II. Their point of union. The latter treatise does not begin precisely where the former ends. By design they overlap each other—both recording the Resurrection and the Ascension. Thus where a bridge of two arches spans a river, both arches lean on one pillar which rises in the middle of the flood. In the midst of the gulf which separated God and man, and in the midst of the tide of time stood Jesus—on Him rests the Old Dispensation and the New. In the end of the Gospel history we found the first hemisphere of the Divine dispensation terminating in Christ crucified and ascended. Here we find the second arch springing where the first was finished. Resting there, it rises into heaven, and stretches away into the future. We lose sight of it as we lose sight of the rainbow, in mid-heavens; but we know assuredly that it will traverse all the intervening space, and lean secure on the continent of a coming eternity. (W. Arnot, D. D.)

St. Luke a model for the Bible student I. He collected his facts with care and diligence (Luk_1:1-3). This complete knowledge of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach suggests the importance of endeavouring to gain a more perfect knowledge of the Word of God. There is a great readiness in quoting certain texts or favourite portions, but the fulness of which St. Luke speaks is rare. The Word of God cannot be said to be unknown, but it does not “dwell richly in us in all wisdom.” Hence truths are magnified into undue proportions, and important doctrines are passed over slightly, because they do not well enter into some peculiar system. II. His collection was limited by the boundaries of revelation. It did not go beyond what God made known by His Son. Here, again, we may learn the importance of not going beyond the revealed Word whenever we attempt to review God’s dealings with mankind, anti especially of the redemption of the world by Christ. If there be danger in a partial knowledge of God’s truth, there is perhaps more in adding to the things which God has revealed. It is this which has caused so much superstition. III. He recognised that a knowledge of “all that Jesus began to do and to teach,” however comprehensive and however free from mixture, will not prove a saving knowledge unless it be conveyed to the soul by the power of God. St. Luke describes the commandments of Jesus as given unto the apostles by the Spirit. It is possible for any man to learn these commandments. The letter of the law and the facts of the gospel are within the reach of the poorest capacity. But, in order to make the knowledge available, the Spirit of God must take of the things so learnt, and show them to the soul. “No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost.” It is impossible to read the Acts without seeing that the Holy Spirit was the acting Guide of all the sayings and actions of the first teachers of Christianity. Looking upon the doctrines of the gospel as a medicine to heal our spiritual sickness, we must suppose that the medicine is taken, and that it penetrates through the constitution of the sick soul. IV. It requires strong convictions of the truths we believe in order to be diligent in the propagation of them. Our zeal for the cause of the Redeemer, our desires for the advancement of His glory, our prayers for the prevalence of His truth, will all be in proportion to the depth of our conviction that this is the Word of God. The earliest impressions are liable to be effaced by time, by the world and its cares, by the changes of our own views, by the speculative views of others, etc. We have need, therefore, of watchfulness, lest that which is within us lose its power and freshness, and we begin in the routine of duty and form to think less and less of the power of godliness. (R. Burgess, B. D.)

Literary histories Luke was the Haydon of the sacred scribes; he sketched the perfect Man and drew in heroic size the figures and scenes of the new kingdom. Historians often become interested in a single character and turn aside to give us a monograph or biography on the object of their enthusiasm. Motley, after writing “The Rise of the Dutch Republic” and “The History of the United Netherlands,” published “John Barneveld.” Bancroft left his chosen field, the “History of the United States,” to make us better acquainted with Abraham Lincoln. Froude has added to his “History of England” a “Life of Lord Beaconsfield.” Writers of history describe the movements of an age as centring about their heroes. The records of a given period are seen to bear the stamp of a distinct personality. But Luke begins with a great character. His biography precedes his history

and is the inspiration of it. There was a life which was the key to the Acts, and our writer was in touch with it. He did not gild an earthly tyrant and set him up like Nebuchadnezzar’s image in the plain of Dura to fill the wastes of godless history, but he traces the way of the Church through the fiery furnace of events with a form “like a son of the gods.” Gulzot wrote a “History of Civilisation in Europe and in France,” and gave to the world as one of his latest works “Meditations on the Christian Religion.” Edwin Arnold, after following the “Light of Asia” till it led him to a dim Nirvana, came back for another guide and traced the path of the “Light of the World.” Gounod composed operas in his youth, and afterward turned his attention to such serious works as the oratorios of “The Redemption” and “St. Paul.” It thus not infrequently happens that in later life men are led to dwell upon and portray that great personality they have passed by in search of the world’s truth; but the Bible writers all had their study fires kindled by the rays of that Sun which illuminates the past and future, before they became scribes of Divine truth. The ancient penmen were friends of God, and those of the New Testament were disciples of His Son Jesus Christ before they essayed to describe the powers, the laws, and the institutions of redemption. (W. R. Campbell.)

The Gospels the living picture of Christ The whole value of the Gospels to Erasmus lay in the vividness with which they brought home to their readers the personal impression of Christ Himself. “Were we to have seen Him with our own eyes, we should not have so intimate a knowledge as they give us of Christ, speaking, healing, dying, rising again, as it were in our very presence. If the footprints of Christ are shown us in any place, we kneel down and adore them. Why do we not rather venerate the living and breathing picture of Him in these Books? It may be the safer course,” he goes on, with characteristic irony, “to conceal the state mysteries of kings, but Christ desires His mysteries to be spread abroad as openly as was possible.” (Little’s “Historical Lights.”)

The “Memorabilia” of Christ Xenophon, the loving disciple of Socrates, has given an account of the last sayings of that great man, after he was imprisoned and condemned to death; and in all ages the “Memorabilia” has been regarded as one of the most precious records which classical antiquity has sent down to us. But sublime and heroic as they were, how immeasurably do these last utterances of the Grecian stage fall below the moral grandeur and the deathless interest inspired by the last words of Jesus. The nearer we stand to the Cross, and the more we enter into the spirit of its great central character, the more do we feel the force of Rousseau’s eloquent eulogium, “Socrates lived and died like a philosopher; but Jesus Christ like a God.” The pre-eminence of the doctrine of Christ incarnate We have seen in mountain lands one majestic peak soaring above all the rest of the hills which out the azure of the horizon with their noble outline, burning with hues of richest gold in the light of the morning sun; and so should the doctrine of Christ incarnate, crucified, risen, and reigning, be pre-eminent above the whole chain of fact, doctrine, and sentiment which make up the sublime landscape—the magnificent panorama— which the Christian preacher unfolds, and makes to pass in clear form and brilliant colour before the eye of his people’s faith. (Evangelical Magazine.)

Theophilus.— Theophilus Not an ideal person with a name expressive of his religious character. That must have been Philotheus (cf. 2Ti_3:4). Probably a Gentile convert, not resident in the Holy Land, or he would not have needed the many explanations of places and usages. He is said by Theophylact to have been of senatorial rank; and the title prefixed in the Gospel has been thought to imply that he was a provincial governor (cf. Act_23:26; Act_24:3). The address here is less ceremonious, indicating that Luke’s friendship had become more intimate. (Bp. Jacobsen.)

Of all that; Jesus began.— Teaching to be combined with doing If it were not for the fact of a Christian life manifested in the holy lives of believers, Christian doctrine would command no attention beyond that of a speculative system. God begins, but never finishes. His works and His teachings are only movements in the march of infinite advance. But one thing we know is finished, and that is the redemption work of Christ, which He declared accomplished when He bowed His head and gave up the ghost; but even this gives birth to a progressive work of salvation, based upon, and springing out of, that foundation. Jesus intimated to His disciples that, through them, He would do greater works after He went to the Father than while He was on the earth, and that, as they became able to bear them, He would give them other teachings. In the Acts of the Apostles we find both of these promises being literally fulfilled. (Gf. Pentecost.)

Aspects of Christ on the earth 1. A Founder. He “began to do and teach,” like an architect who draws the plan of a magnificent cathedral, and lays its foundations, then leaves it for others to finish. The Church of to-day at its best is only carrying out the purpose of its Founder. 2. A Lawgiver. Giving His commandments through the Holy Ghost to His apostles. His laws were not written on tables of stone, like those of Mount Sinai, but on the hearts of His disciples. Whoever becomes a follower of Christ pledges himself to obey His commands. 3. A Sufferer. “His Passion” is not omitted from this summary, brief as the summary is, for the death of Christ is far more important to us than was His life. His Passion brought to us our salvation. 4. A Conqueror. He was dead, He was buried, but He lived again; “He showed Himself alive after His Passion.” Bug for the resurrection of Jesus the world would never have heard of His name. 5. A Revealer. “Speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Notice what was the theme of conversation during those forty days. The same subject is the object of all Christ’s interest on the earth now. He cares little for the rise and fall of empires, except as they affect the salvation of men. One soul outweighs all the politics of a continent.

The unchanged plan The lines of the kingdom run before the crucifixion were not changed. Christ’s assumption of authority was the same as of old. His words were those of command. He had no mistakes to rectify, nor did He withdraw any offer or retract any promise. The scenes He had passed through had not shaken His mind in its loves, its powers, or its purposes. The old commissions were renewed, but there must be halt, not for orders or drill, but for power. Not as the heathen legionaries waited for the auguries from dead beasts, but for a descent of the Spirit from on high were these men to linger at Jerusalem. The moulds were set and the wicks were already dipped for the men who were to be the candles of the Lord, and only the spark of the Spirit was needed to light them. (W. R. Campbell.)

The ministry of Jesus a beginning I. It was a new thing among men. 1. His miracles. “We have seen strange things to-day.” 2. His teaching. “Never man spake as this Man.” 3. His character. “Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” This originality presents— (1) An example for all time. (2) An argument for the Divine origin of Christianity. II. It was introductory to the work of the apostles. 1. He prepared them for their work by instruction. He made them to feel that they could have no other Master. They were assured that to learn of Him was to find the truth. This relation continued during His presence, but they had to be prepared for His absence. 2. Accordingly He brought them to a conviction of His abiding supremacy in the Church. Though when with Him they in a degree lived by sight, even then faith was required; and after His departure faith was their chief directive principle. And Low realising was the faith in which they carried on their work (Act_2:33; Act_4:10). III. It was introductory to the work of the Church in succeeding ages. Centuries have rolled by, and Christianity has not fulfilled all the desires of its friends. Yet the name of Jesus has never ceased to be spoken, and His Holy Spirit has wrought by means of the truth however partially known. Of His living ministry we have abundant proofs in buildings, institutions, and saved souls. And provision is made for the perpetual continuance of the work of Jesus. The Gospel history furnishes— 1. An inexhaustible theme. 2. An all-powerful motive. Conclusion: See here— 1. How to understand the history of the Christian Church. It presents the truth of Jesus in incessant contention with error, the world, and Satan, and it points hopefully to the time when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God, etc. 2. The magnificence of a right influence. The work which Jesus began has never ceased. Some of His followers have begun movements which have continued So bless the world ages after they have gone. If your life is short and sphere narrow you have the

opportunity of beginning what may bless many. 3. The dignity of Christian effort. It is an honour to have distinguished associates, how much more to have your name in the long list headed by Jesus! (W. Hudson.)

The ever-active Christ 1. Luke’s Gospel is confessedly but an imperfect sketch of an absolutely perfect life. Yet, in his Gospel, every beneficent act seems well-rounded off, every miracle seems complete, every parable seems to have received its finishing touches. And yet Luke says that his Gospel is only a narrative of what Jesus “began both to do and teach.” There were greater things to follow—miracles of grace far surpassing the opening of blind eyes, the cleansing of lepers, or even the raising of the dead to life again. 2. The Acts of the Apostles contains an account of those greater works which were done in the name of Christ. In the Gospels Christ begins to do and teach; in the Acts of the Apostles He continues to do and teach; but His doing and teaching are not now restricted and limited, but assume larger and grander proportions. 3. Our Lord’s beneficient activity did not cease when the last of the apostles fell asleep. Christ has been doing and teaching ever since, and never more than during the last hundred years. Christ is with us still, and He is not inactive. He is keenly alive to all that goes on in His Church. Indeed, it is the Christ in you that prompts to that noble deed, or to lay upon His altar that costly sacrifice. Apart from Christ you can do nothing. The Gospels are full of beginnings. The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles are also full of beginnings. Now, if the beginnings are so glorious, what will the endings be? If the Spirit of Christ abides in the Church, leading us into all truth, then we ought to possess a larger and richer spiritual heritage than our forefathers possessed. The Churches of the New Testament were only the beginnings of Christ’s redemptive activity. His influence on the world is immeasurably greater than it was when He died upon the cross, and immeasurably greater than it was when the Books of the New Testament were written. We know that He who in the time of His humiliation began to do and teach, until “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together,” and “the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the mighty deep.” Mr. Beecher somewhere speaks of “a Christ a thousand times more glorious than Jerusalem ever saw; a Christ a thousand times freer and fuller of the manifestation of love than any historical Christ; a Christ larger in every way than the Christ of the past; a Christ enwrapping every soul as the whole atmosphere of a continent broods over each particular flower; a Christ conceived of as living near, as overhanging, as thinking of each one, and as working for Him.” Do we know anything of this Christ? The same Christ as we have in the Gospels, and yet not the same: for a man may know the Christ of history and yet be unsaved, but to know the risen, ascended, ever-present Christ is salvation itself. (A. Verran.)

The beginning of apostolicity (1.) 1. This Book is a letter addressed to one man. God always speaks to individuals. He does not address the great seething throng. He made Adam, called Abram, selected Mary; all through history God has called out the one person, and has started His kingdom oftentimes from very insignificant beginnings. 2. But great letters cannot be kept private: where there is anything in a letter it burns its way out. There are some letters which exercise a secret and wonderful power over the receiver, and he says the whole world must be taken into his confidence; to keep it back

from others would amount to practical felony. We cannot hide gospels permanently. What is in a book and not what is said about it, determines its fate in the long run. Luke wrote a long account of Christ’s ministry to Theophilus, and the whole world has Luke’s narrative in its hand to-day! So Luke undertook further to write the Acts to this same man, and to-day the Acts are read in every school, perused by all students of history, and in it are the fundamentals of the most influential commonwealths. 3. Luke divides the great life into two portions—action and doctrine, miracles and truth. All Christian life admits of precisely the same division. If we do, but fail to teach, we shall be but barren puzzles. If we teach, and fail to do, we may incur the just imputation of being theorists and fanatics, or devotional sentimentalists. I. And yet Jesus Christ only began. 1. There can be no ending in anything that God does. Though it may appear to end in itself, yet itself is related to some other and broader self, and so the continuity rolls on in ever-augmenting accretion and proportion. There are no conclusions in truth; there may be resting-places, a punctuation of statement, so that we may take time to turn it into beneficent action, but God’s hand never wrote the word “finis”; though the Bible be, in point of paper and print, a measurable quantity, it opens a revelation that recedes from us like the horizon. 2. So then life becomes a new thing from this standpoint. Men talk about formulating Christian truth: you might as well attempt to formulate the light or the atmosphere. You cannot formulate quantities that are infinite. We have organised geology, botany, astronomy, why not theology? The answer is that geology, etc., represent finite and therefore measurable quantities. We can begin a theology, and in doing so we shall do well, provided that we never mistake beginnings for endings. As to verbal statements, we may never agree; the action of the mind is in advance of the action of the tongue. We know always more than we can tell. 3. So we may well be charitable. If Jesus only began, men can only do the same. No man has the whole truth. The Book itself is not a full grown garden, it is a seed-house. We are all beginners. The old grey-haired student lifts up his wrinkled brow from the glowing page and says, “I have hardly begun it.” Who, then, are we, fifty years his juniors, who should start up and say, “We have reached the goal”? Let us not account ourselves to have attained, but let us press forward, and ever say, “God hath yet more light and truth to bring forth from His Holy Word.” II. Though Jesus Christ only began, His beginnings have all the force and urgency of complete endings. He gave “commandments,” He did not offer mere suggestions for their consideration, to adopt or reject on further inquiry. Jesus Christ was never less than royal. “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” We are then the slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the Lord’s freemen. We do not make the commandments, we obey them—we do not walk under the loose rule of license, we are kept within the limits of a specific moral gravitation, and we have come to know that there is no liberty without law, that life without law is chaos. III. These beginnings pertain to the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ had but one subject. He never talked about anything less than a kingdom that rose above all other empires and enclosed them in its infinite sovereignty. The disciples never could get away from their little “kingdom” any more than Christ could detach Himself from His great royalty. So we often find ourselves talking Christian language without the full Christian meaning. The terms are identical with those Christ used, and yet the meanings are separated by the diameter of infinity. Let us know that the larger meaning is always the right one. Yet Jesus chided the apostles very gently. He told them that they were as yet incomplete men; but “ye shall receive power,” etc. They were unbaptised in soul: the symbolic water

had done its initial work, but they stood there without the sacred fire, the inspiring afflatus. Into what baptism have we been baptised? We have not received the Holy Ghost if we are conducting a narrow ministry. Jesus Christ said so much when He added, “Ye shall be witnesses both in Jerusalem,” etc. No power but the Holy Ghost could take a man through those regions. The man who has been baptised with water only will choose his own parish, but the man in whom is the burning of the Holy Ghost will say with Wesley, “My parish is the world.” You will know whether you are inspired or not by the vastness of your labours. If we are waiting until we be properly equipped and duly sent out, then know that we have been baptised with ice. IV. We now pass from the visible ministry of Christ—a cloud received Him out of their sight. Nothing more. Not out of hearing, sympathy, nor helpful ministry—only out of sight. We are not out of His sight, nor out of His memory! (J. Parker, D. D.)

The beginning of apostolicity (2.) 1. Who could have told beforehand that Christ would be the first to go? Our conception would rather have been that He would remain until the last lamb had been enfolded and the last pilgrim entered into rest. Instead of this, He Himself said, “It is expedient for you that I go away.” 2. Being about to go, His last interview with the apostles took place. Last interviews are notably pathetic. The words that would be common on any other occasion acquire a new and significant accent. Little things that would not be noticed under ordinary circumstances, start up into unusual prominence. We should always listen as if in a last interview. “What I say unto one, I say unto all—Watch.” We lose so much through inattentiveness. 3. Jesus Christ is about to go—how will He go? He cannot be allowed to die: that would be a fatal disappointment to the attention which He has strained and to the expectation He has excited. Dogs die: and if this Man die, He will contradict by one pitiful commonplace all that was phenomenal in His life. How will He go? Luke tells us that He was “taken up.” In other places we learn that He “ascended.” He entered within the action of another gravitation, into His own place in the heavens. It is enough: the mind is satisfied by the grand action. Were I reading this upon a poet’s page, I would applaud the poet for one of the finest conceptions that ever ennobled and glorified human fancy. 4. Jesus Christ then “ascended,” and in doing so He but repeated in one final act all the miracles which had made His previous ministry illustrious. From the very beginning He had been ascending, so that when He took the final movement, it was but completing that which He had been continuing for years. Our life should be an ascent! We should not be to-day where we were ten years ago. Not that we are to ascend by sharp steeps that attract the attention. There are ascents so gradual that they do not seem to be ascents; yet looked at as from the beginning to the end, we see that the gradient has evermore lifted itself up until the very next thing to do is to step into heaven! You may know how you will die by knowing how you really live. If your life is a life of faith in the Son of God marked by, at all events, the desire to be Christ-like, then you shall “ascend.” All that drops away from you will be the flesh and the bones, that have been a distress to you for many a day. Your self, your liberated spirit, shall “ascend.” Who ever saw fire going downward? It is in fire to go up, to seek the parent sun out of which it came. We, too, living, moving, and ever having our being in God shall not die as the dogs die, but “rise” to our fount and origin “with Christ.” 5. If the final interview was pathetic to Christ, it was also pathetic to the disciples. They had their question to ask as certainly as He had His commandments to give. “Lord, wilt

Thou”? etc. (1) Mark how, after His resurrection, He had become “Lord” and the Restorer of kingdoms. Everything rests upon the resurrection of Christ: “if Christ be not risen,” etc. No matter what He did, taught, or appeared to be: if it was in the power of men to kill and keep Him in the grave, all His protestations were lies and His promises vanity. Hence, Luke and all the apostolic writers insist that Jesus “showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs.” The inquiry, then, that was put to Christ in this instance was put to a Man who had risen. It was this— “Wilt Thou restore?” etc. There are times when everything depends upon one man, crises which sum themselves up in the judgment of one thinker—we look to him, he carries the keys, he speaks the final word, and from him we expect the policy which alone can ennoble and save the life. (2) We learn from this inquiry how long-lingering and ineradicable is the influence of first impressions. The disciples had got it into their minds very early that this Man had come to liberate the Jews and to give them back their lost kingdom. What is so longlived as prejudice? Therefore take care what impression you make upon the young mind about the Christian Sabbath, Book, Church, idea. Who can wonder that some men can hardly open the Bible with sympathy or hopefulness, because they remember that in early days it was the task-book? Are there not those who dread going to church, because their action is associated with early impressions of gloom and dreariness? 6. Christ’s answer may be read in a tone of rebuke, but it was not spoken in that tone. You cannot report a tone—hence it is possible to express the very words the speaker said and yet entirely to misrepresent him! Features can be photographed, but not life. Jesus Christ spoke in a tone that was instructive, and followed with utterances of the largest and tenderest encouragement. “Ye shall receive power,” etc. There is no gift equal to the gift of power. When a man in distress comes to you, if, instead of answering his immediate necessity, you could give him power to answer his own, you would bestow the most precious of treasures. (1) The gift of Christ to the Church is a gift of power— (a) Not intellectual only, though Christ has indeed sharpened every faculty of the mind, and blessed the Church with penetrating insight—but that is not the power referred to here. (b) Nor social power—the power usually associated with the idea of kingdom, rule, and authority. (c) But the power of holiness—“after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Know yourselves to be powerful by the measure of your holiness, and contrariwise know yourselves to be weak, though your mind covers the whole register of intellectual possibility. We have lost the Holy Ghost. We betake ourselves now to Church questions and not to soul inquiries. The problem of to-day is ecclesiasticism, not evangelisation. We are building structures, arranging mechanics, instead of being carried away with the whirlwind of Divine inspiration, and displaying what the world would call supreme madness in consecration of heart. A grand, or learned, or rich Church—these may be but contradictions in terms, but a holy Church, an inspired Church, would go forth “fair as the moon,” etc. The world can answer our argument so as to confuse the listener, but it can have no reply to an unimpeachable purity. (2) The power which Christ gave was to be used. When He puts the staff into my hand, He means me to walk with it; when He gives me opportunities, He means me to use them. (3) This power was to be used gradually—“Ye shall be witnesses unto; Me both in

Jerusalem,” etc. Do not begin at the end: grow little by little, but see to it that your motion is constant. It is not some dashing triumph that strikes beholders, but that subtle, quiet, imperceptible growth that proceeds night and day until a culmination is reached that surprises not by its violence but by its completeness and tenderness of its working. (4) The power was to be used enlargingly, from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth, until there was no more ground to be covered. This is our Christian mission, and nothing so enlarges and emboldens the mind as sympathy with Christ. The Christian man cannot be a small-minded man. Find a sectarian and you find no Christian; pick out a man who says the kingdom of heaven ends here, and he is a man who has stolen his position in the sanctuary. All Christians are great men, great souls; all who are crucified with Christ see all men drawn to the Cross. Christianity never bends the head downward towards little and dwindling spaces: it always says, “The whole world for Christ.” If men would have their minds enlarged, ennobled, inspired, it can only be by direct fellowship with Him who is the Head of all things, who fills all things, who ascended that He might rule by a longer line and by a more comprehensive mastery. 7. Christ’s last words were about Himself. “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” What sublime audacity! What magnificent confidence! The Church has one Lord, one thing to say—Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and went out of the world to pray for His Church and sustain His servants in all the stress of life and in all the anxiety of service. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Christ’s finished and unfinished work Compare Act_28:30-31. So begins and so ends this Book. The reference to “the former treatise” implies that this Book is to be regarded as its sequel. Is not the natural inference that the latter treatise will tell us what Jesus continued “to do and teach” after He was taken up? I think so. And thus the writer sets forth at once, for those that have eyes to see, what he means to do, and what he thinks his Book is going to be about. So, then, the name “The Acts of the Apostles,” which is not coeval with the Book itself, is somewhat of a misnomer. Most of the apostles are never heard of in it. But our first text supplies a deeper reason for regarding that title as inadequate. For, if the theme of the story be what Christ did, then the Book is, not the “Acts of the Apostles,” but the Acts of Jesus Christ through His servants. He, and He alone, is the Actor; and the men that appear are but the instruments in His hands. It is the unfinished record of an incomplete work. The theme is the work of Christ through the ages, of which each successive depository of His energies can do but a small portion, and must leave that portion unfinished, the Book does not so much end as stop. It is a fragment because the work of which it tells of is not yet a whole. If, then, we put these two things—the beginning and the ending of this Book—together, I think we get some thoughts about what Christ began to do and teach on earth; what He continues to do and teach in heaven; and how small and fragmentary a share in that work each individual servant of His has. Let us look at these things briefly. I. We have here the suggestion of what Christ began to do and teach on earth. Now, at first sight, the words of our text seem to be in startling contradiction to the solemn cry which rang out of the darkness upon Calvary. Jesus said, “It is finished! and gave up the ghost.” Luke says He “began to do and teach.” Is there any contradiction between the two? Certainly not. It is one thing to lay a foundation; it is another thing to build a house. And the work of laying the foundation must be finished before the work of

building the structure upon it can be begun. It is one thing to create a force; it is another thing to apply it. It is one thing to compound a medicine; it is another thing to administer it. It is one thing to unveil a truth; it is another to unfold its successive applications, and to work it into a belief and practice in the world. The former is the work of Christ which was finished on earth; the latter is the work which is continuous throughout the ages. “He began to do and teach,” not in the sense that any should come after Him and do, as the disciples of most great discoverers and thinkers have had to do: systematise, rectify, and complete the first glimpses of truth which the master had given. But whilst thus His work is complete His earthly work is also initial. And we must remember that whatever distinction my text may mean to draw between the work of Christ in the past and that in the present and the future, it does not mean to imply that when He ascended up on high, He had not completed the task for which He came. The revelation is complete, and He that professes to add anything to, or to substitute anything for, the finished teaching of Jesus Christ concerning God, and man’s relation to God, and man’s duty, destiny, and hopes, is a false teacher, and to follow him is fatal. In like manner that work of Christ, which in some sense is initial, is complete as redemption. “This Man has offered up one Sacrifice for sins for ever.” And nothing more can He do than He has done; and nothing more can any man do than was accomplished on the Cross of Calvary as a revelation, as effecting a redemption, as lodging in the heart of humanity, and in the midst of human history, a purifying energy, sufficient to cleanse the whole black stream. Resurrection and Ascension needs no supplement, and can have no continuation, world without end. II. But we have to notice what Christ continues to do and to teach after His ascension. The theme of this Book of the Acts is the continuous work of the ascended Saviour. There is nothing more remarkable than the way in which, at every turn in the narrative, all is referred to Jesus Christ Himself. For instance, to cull one or two cases in order to bring the matter more plainly before you. When the apostles determined to select another apostle to fill Judas’ place, they asked Jesus Christ to show which “of these two Thou hast chosen.” When Peter is called upon to explain the tongues at Pentecost, he says, “Jesus hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.” When the writer would tell the reason of the large first increase to the Church, he says, “The Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.” Peter and John go into the Temple to heal the lame man, and their words to him are, “Do not think that our power or holiness is any factor in your cure. The Name hath made this man whole.” It is the Lord that appears to Paul and to Ananias, the one on the road to Damascus and the other the city. The same point of view is suggested by another of the characteristics of this Book, which it shares in common with all Scripture narratives, and that is the stolid indifference with which it picks up and drops men, according to the degree in which, for the moment, they are the instruments of Christ’s power. As long as electricity streams on the carbon point it glows and is visible, but when the current is turned to another lamp we see no more of the bit of carbon. As long as God uses a man, the man is of interest to the writer of the Scripture. When God uses another one, they drop the first, and have no more care about him, because their theme is not men, and their doings but God’s doings through men. On us, and in us, and by us, and for us, if we are His servants, Jesus Christ is working all through the ages. He is the Lord of Providence, He is the King of history. And thus He continues to teach and to work from His throne in the heavens. He continues to teach, not by the communication of new truth. That is done. But the application of the completed revelation is the work that is going on to-day and that will go on till the end of the world. Now these truths of our Lord’s continuous activity in teaching and working from heaven may yield us some not unimportant lessons. What a depth and warmth and reality the thoughts give to the Christian’s relation to Jesus Christ. We have to think, not

only of a Christ who did something for us long ago in the past, and there an end, but of a Christ who to-day lives and reigns to do and to teach according to our necessities. What a sweetness and sacredness such thoughts impart to all external events, which we may regard as being the operation of His love, and moved by the hands that were nailed to the cross for us, and now hold the sceptre of the universe for the blessing of mankind! The forces of good and evil in the world seem very disproportionate, but we forget too often to take Christ into account. Great men die, good men die, Jesus Christ is not dead. He lives; He is the Anchor of our hope. What a lesson of lowliness and of diligence it gives us! “Be not wise in your own conceits.” You are only a tool, only a pawn in the band of the great Player. If you have anything, it is because you get it from Him. III. Lastly, we note the incompleteness of each man’s share in the great work. As I said, the Book which is to tell the story of Christ’s continuous work from heaven must stop abruptly. There is no help for it. If it was a history of Paul, it would need to be wound up to an end; but as it is the history of Christ’s working, the web is not half finished, and the shuttle stops in the middle of a cast. The Book must be incomplete because the work of which it is the record does not end until He shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father, and God shall be all in all. So the work of each man is but a fragment of that great work. Every man inherits unfinished tasks from his predecessors, and leaves unfinished tasks to his successors. It is, as it used to be in the Middle Ages, when the men that dug the foundations or laid the first courses of some great cathedral were dead long generations before the gilded cross was set on the apex of the needlespire, and the glowing glass filled in to the painted windows. Enough for us, if we lay a stone, though it be but one stone in one of the courses of the great building. (A. Maclaren, D. D)

The permanence of Christ in history The mists of gathering ages wrap in slowly-thickening folds of forgetfulness all other men and events in history, and make them ghostlike and shadowy; but no distance has yet dimmed or will ever dim that human form Divine. Other names are like those stars that blaze out for a while, and then smoulder down into almost complete invisibility; but Christ is the very Light itself, that burns and is not consumed. Other landmarks sink below the horizon as the tribes of men pursue their solemn march through the centuries, but the cross on Calvary “shall stand for an ensign of the people, and to it shall the Gentiles seek.” (A. Maclaren, D. D)

The uniqueness of Christ’s earthly ministry Two facts here mark it off from every other. I. It was original. 1. His works were original—done in His own strength. The best deeds of the holiest men are done in the strength of heaven. 2. His teaching was original, not derived from others. He was “the Truth.” His doctrines emanated from Him as living streams from a fountain of life. 3. His life was original. Such a life was never lived before; so blending the weak with the strong, the fleeting with the eternal, the human with the Divine. His whole life was a new fountain in earth’s desert, a new light in earth’s darkness. 4. His ministry was initiatory. Luke’s Gospel was the commencement of a life here developed. Christ, absent corporeally, is with us always by His Spirit.

II. It was posthumous. Christ did not leave the world before He had made effective arrangements for the working out of His grand purpose. What He did He did through the Divine Spirit. It was in this might that He rose and continued for forty days. The ministry after the Passion was— 1. An undoubted reality (verse 3). (1) His appearances were themselves infallible proofs. Nothing is better attested. They took place at ten different times, and before single disciples and hundreds, and in a veritable corporiety who could be touched, and could eat and drink. (2) The witnesses of these appearances were indisposed to belief in the resurrection (Joh_20:9; Luk_24:11; see also the case of Thomas). Yet in spite of this they were thoroughly convinced. They proclaimed it publicly and before the very Sanhedrim. 2. Confined to the disciples. Before His death He spoke to promiscuous crowds; hut now only to those between whom and Himself there was a vital spiritual connection. Henceforth He would deal with the unconverted world through them. Observe here: (1) The grand subject of His ministry was the kingdom of God. Science, philosophy, politics, were left behind for “things” of a higher type; things compared with which the greatest realities of earth are but as passing shadows; things which restore apostate spirits to God. Before His death He spoke much of His kingdom, and death had not changed His views. (2) The grand endeavour of His ministry was to prepare propagandists. (a) By giving them distinct impressions of the work He required them to discharge (Mat_28:19-20; Mar_16:15-16). (b) By giving them an immovable conviction of His resurrection. (c) By preparing them for the reception of their great Helper, the Holy Spirit. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Until the day in which He was taken up.— Jesus lives We can never forget a long corridor in the Vatican Museum, exhibiting on the one side epitaphs of departed heathens, and on the other mementoes of departed Christians. Opposite to lions leaping on horses, emblems of destruction, are charming sculptures of the Good Shepherd bearing home the lost lamb, with the epitaph, “Alexander is not dead, but lives above the stars.” (J. Stoughton.)

The ascension: its central position Luke narrates the ascension twice—showing the importance of the event. The first mention is at the end of the Gospel—forming the keystone to the life of Jesus; the second at the beginning of the Acts—forming the keystone for the edifice of the Church. (Nesselmann.)

The Ascension of Christ I. The fact. Seneca said: “The ascent from earth to heaven is not easy.” But Seneca was

an atheist, if we may believe his adversaries. The atheist will not receive the witness of men. And Jesus said: “How shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” The difficulties concerning supernaturalism are all difficulties of disbelief. To the mind of the believer there appears nothing that is difficult to Jesus in His miracles. The ascension of Jesus, like the resurrection or birth of Jesus, was only natural supernaturalism. It “was a necessary consequence of the resurrection,” as it was the consummation of the series of His redemptive miracles. It was natural with Him; it would have been unnatural with His disciples. The time, the place, the nature, and the witnesses of the ascension will corroborate the supernatural claim. The time was opportune. “After having lived awhile on earth; after having offered His body as a sacrifice for sin; after having been raised from the dead; after having shown Himself alive to His disciples by many infallible proofs, then He led them out as far as Bethany, and in the presence of the whole Church then collected together He was taken up into heaven.” Equally interesting, fitting, and convincing was the locality of the ascension. The nature of the ascension is evidence of the fact of the ascension. Jesus simply arose from the earth to go into the heavens. He had brought His body from the grave, and it belonged no more with corruptible things. It was not subject to the conditions or limitations of the earth. To go away was all that remained to be done. There was nowhere else to go but into the heavens. The witnesses of the ascension were not deceived, and could not be deceivers. They were the friends of Jesus. It accorded with their faith to expect that, like Enoch and Elijah, He should be caught up in the air. They were overcome with their sorrow when He was crucified. But now they had returned to Jerusalem with great joy. The angels who had announced His birth and proclaimed His resurrection were present to confirm His ascension. Stephen, when permitted to answer to the accusation of blasphemy in his apology, uttered in the very article of death, said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” And among his last words were: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And John, from the isle of Patmos, saw in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks the Son of Man, whom he heard saying: “I am the First and the Last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” So also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath sent, is a witness. His presence in the hearts of men is the greatest witness. “He shall testify of Me.” If Jesus had not ascended the Holy Spirit would not be here. II. The doctrine. The ascension of Jesus was essential to the plan and work of redemption. It was necessary to relate again the work which Jesus had come to do in the earth with the world from whence He came. He had accomplished a virtual redemption. He was thenceforth to make it actual. It was prophesied that He would ascend on high, lead captivity captive, and receive gifts for men. He himself had foretold that He should go away. The ascension was the fulfilment of prophecy and the verifiaation of His own words. Without the ascension the world could not have understood Him. It was the explanation of His character and work on the earth. Christianity was triumphant at the ascension. Sin was mastered, death was dead, and man was free. In the ascension of Jesus there was given to all believers the surety of their ascension. The heavens are now the pledge of another advent of the Son of Man. III. The results. There were both direct and indirect results of the ascension. The ascension was the dividing point between the gospel and the apostolic histories. It concluded the one and introduced the other. The peasant becomes a prince. He is given a name which is above every name. He is returned to the honours which He had with the Father before the world was. The last act of Jesus as He ascended was to lift up His hands and bless. In the very sight of Gethsemane and Calvary, “with malice toward none and charity for all,” He went away blessing the cruel world which had received Him not,

and dispensing gifts not to His friends only, but to the rebellious also. Of the great gift, in which all other gifts are included—the gift of the Holy Ghost which came on all menwe are all witnesses and partakers. The indirect influences of the ascension have been and are multifarious as the intellections and emotions of men. With the ascension the personal element of the Christ who had gone about doing good was taken from the earth, and it no longer excited malefactors to persecute Him. His disciples were exalted with Him. They were raised “into union and fellowship with a higher nature.” The Father and the heavenly world were brought nearer and made dearer to the children of men. It is now the aspiration of all Christians to explore with the Son of Man the heavenly spaces. (J W. Hamilton.)

The ascending Lord I. The preparation of the witnesses. You cannot lay hands on any man at random, and ask him to bear testimony even to undisputed facts. He must have seen the things, and be a man of truthful spirit. What Christ did that day before their eyes gave them knowledge of the final fact which was to complete the circle of their testimony. It is the consummation of His resurrection. But what He said was needful, too. It was essential that their spiritual vision should be illumined, and so the Holy Spirit was promised to complete what their outward vision had begun. Through the mere vision they might have light: only through the spiritual baptism could they have power; but not to be warriers, but witnesses. “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth, go ye, therefore, and”—not fight, not reign, but—“teach.” This is ever the divinest thing that men can do, and is the work of the disciples in every age. For this the Master Himself came into the world. II. The limitation of the witnesses. “While they beheld, a cloud received Him out of their, sight.” 1. There was clear vision for a while, and then a mystery. So all our knowledge ends. The strength of the witnessing of the early disciples lay in this that they testified up to the limits of their knowledge, and then relapsed into utter silence. It will be well for the later witnesses to follow their example. Many an earnest witness has lost his power because there was no clear line between things known and things fancied; because the unfaltering testimony was not contrasted with the emphasis of silence, but dribbled off into vague surmisings. 2. But because a cloud hides, it need not cast a shadow upon us. The cloud which underlies the mysteries of heavenly truth is not black with thunder, nor scarred with lightning, but edged at least with the silver glory which it hides, and only laden for us with showers of peace and plenty. The cloud is the condescension of Divine love to our weak sight. As the rainbow repeats the promise of the early covenant, so the cloud tells us of hope and reminds us of our risen and returning Lord. III. The attitude of the witnesses. They stand gazing after Him up into heaven; long enough, it is evident, to lead to the rebuke and reassurance of the two angels. While they could look at Jesus they were best fitting for their witnessing; but gazing at the cloud would only make them less strong and confident, Note— 1. Their obedience. Christ had told them to go to Jerusalem and witness first where it is hardest and most perilous to do so; and where their testimony will reach the thousands of Pentecost. It is not by peering into mysteries that we gain grace to be faithful witnesses, but by unquestioning obedience to plain commands. They who are

willing to do His will shall know His teaching. 2. Their fellowship. Christ had appointed them a common mission and promised a common gift. And so they stayed together till it should come. As it is in the way of obedience that we learn the truth, it is in the way of fellowship that we most often receive the richest spiritual gifts. 3. And then, of course, they prayed; not of necessity only for that which He had promised, but quite as much, perhaps, for patience to wait for it, and then for grace to use it. Obedient souls, waiting together for the promised gift of Christ, will always pray. These three things shall make you strong to be witnesses, martyrs if need be, unto Him. (Monday Club.)

The resurrection and ascension of Christ I. The resurrection. 1. The proofs of the fact. They are said to be not only many, but of infallible certainty. (1) The number of the witnesses was very sufficient (1Co_15:5-6). (2) They had all proper advantages and opportunity of knowing the certainty of the matter. (3) They were very unwilling to be deceived (Luk_24:11). (4) They published it as soon as the thing was done. (5) The effect which their testimony had. (a) Upon themselves: they gave the best proofs that they firmly believed it; for they preached it at the hazard of their lives, and many sealed their testimony with their blood. (b) On others. Though these witnesses were but poor illiterate fishermen, and the story which they told ungrateful to the Jews, and contemptible to the Gentiles. Yet their testimony was presently received by many thousands, and nothing could possibly give a check to it. 2. The manner and circumstances of His resurrection. (1) The time is particularly recorded—the third day; not immediately, lest any should doubt whether He had been quite dead. Therefore, when He had lain in the grave long enough to satisfy everybody that His death was real, He arose (Act_10:40; Mat_12:40). (2) The ministry of angels in the affair (Mat_28:2). (3) Christ was accompanied in His resurrection by several of the saints departed (Mat_ 27:52-53). 3. The uses: (1) To establish our faith in Christ’s doctrine and religion (Mat_12:39-40). (2) To encourage our trust in Him, and our hope of salvation by Him (1Pe_1:21; Rom_ 4:25; 1Th_4:14; 1Co_15:16; 1Pe_1:3-4). II. The time of Christ’s stay in this world after His resurrection, and of what He did during that time. Our Saviour’s ascension was delayed so long: 1. To confirm the truth of His resurrection. When He first appeared to His disciples they were so transported that they hardly believed the thing was real (Luk_24:41), and therefore, if they had not seen Him again and again, very likely it would have

passed for a vision only. 2. His love to and care of His disciples detained Him with them. III. The ascension. 1. The manner and circumstances. (1) Where He ascended unto—Heaven (verses 9, 11; Eph_4:10). (2) From whence He ascended—Olivet (verse 12). (3) The manner was very honourable—as a triumphant Conqueror (Psa_68:17-18; Eph_ 4:8). (4) The witnesses who, besides the angels, were His own disciples. There was no need of their seeing Him rise, for it was proof enough of His resurrection, that they saw Him alive; but as they could not see Him in heaven, it was more necessary that they should see Him ascending. (5) He departed with a blessing (Luk_24:50-51). 2. The ends and purposes. (1) That He might receive the due reward of His own past labours and sufferings (Php_2:8-9). (2) For the encouragement and comfort of His disciples. “Ye cannot follow Me now, but ye shall follow Me afterwards; and where I am, there shall My servant be.” (3) As the Forerunner (Heb_6:20; Joh_14:2). (4) To appear in the presence of God for His people, and to be their Advocate with the Father. 3. Inferences. Since Christ is ascended into heaven— (1) It is an absurd thing to look for His bodily presence anywhere in this world. (2) Let us follow our dear Saviour with our frequent thoughts, and with our warmest affections. (D. Jennings.)

The coronation of Christ Jesus’s resurrection might have been regarded as a private return to a select circle, had it not been followed by the assumption of the symbols of world-wide and heavenly authority. The Czar of Russia began to reign on the death of his father, but there was an interval of two years before he was crowned. Then it was at Moscow, the ancient seat of the rulers of the realm, where representatives of the empire and the world were gathered in unwonted splendour. The coronation signifies something. It is a time for renewing old constitutions and cementing the different parts of the dominion. Christ was formally to connect the dispensation of the chosen people with that of a universal sovereignty. There were new states to be added to His rule. Instead of remaining an illustrious citizen, He receives and wields an imperial sceptre. (W. B. Campbell.)

Christ preceding His apostles to heaven As one who precedes a mighty host, provides and prepares rest for their weariness, and food for their hunger, in some city on their line of march, and having made all things ready, is at the gates to welcome their travel-stained ranks when they arrive, and guide them to their repose; so Christ has gone before, our Forerunner, to order all things for us there. (A. Maclaren, D. D)

Christ directs thought to heaven It is said that Socrates brought men down from heaven to earth because he diverted attention from astronomy to a philosophy that considered the duties and relations of man in this life. Christ, on the other hand, exalts the thoughts and purposes of men from earth to heaven. The last days of the Gospel period The crucifixion had seemed to put an end to Jesus’s ministry. But not so: the period of Gospel history was yet forty days from its end. Consider— I. How they resembled previous days. 1. In the visible presence of Jesus. 2. In the personal ministry of Jesus. No one else could have done what was required. 3. In the verbal instruction of Jesus. “The things pertaining to the kingdom of God” had been Christ’s themes at the commencement (Mat_4:17; Joh_3:3), and throughout His public life. 4. The exercise of the authority of Jesus. Long ago He had chosen them, now He gave them commandments. They were to understand that death had not broken His authority. 5. In the mysterious agency of the Holy Ghost (Mat_3:16; Joh_3:34; Heb_9:14). II. How they differed. 1. He who was now seen had been hidden in the grave. Here was a testimony to the reality of the invisible. Then He could be present with them in thought, though not to sense when He returned again to the unseen. 2. The voice now heard had been silent in death. Surely then His words must have been listened to with the deepest reverence. 3. Strange experiences had increased the fitness of the disciples to receive Christ’s instructions. Their misunderstandings had been rectified, and their attachment deepened. When attention has been secured a speaker can say more in a minute than in an hour otherwise. 4. The visible presence of Jesus was not constant. To give His disciples— (1) Intervals for reflection. (2) Evidences of His permanent interest in them. III. Their leading impression. That Jesus was alive. He still lives, and because of that we shall live also. (W. Hudson.)

2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the

apostles he had chosen.

1. Barnes, “Until the day - The 40th day after the resurrection, Act_1:3. See Luk_
24:51. In which he was taken up - In which he ascended to heaven. He was taken up into a cloud, and is represented as having been borne or carried to heaven, Act_1:9. After that ... - This passage has been variously rendered. The Syriac translates it, “After he had given commandment unto the apostles whom he had chosen by the Holy Spirit.” So also the Ethiopic version. Others have joined the words “through the Holy Spirit” to the phrase “was taken up,” making it mean that he was taken up by the Holy Spirit. But the most natural and correct translation seems to be what is in our King James Version. Through the Holy Ghost - To understand this, it is necessary to call to mind the promise that Jesus made before his death, that after his departure, the Holy Spirit would descend to be a guide to his apostles. See Joh_16:7-11, and the notes on that place. It was to be his office to carry forward the work of redemption in applying it to the hearts of people. Whatever was done, therefore, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, was to be regarded as under the unique influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. Even the instructions of Jesus and his commission to the apostles, were to be regarded as coming within the department of the sacred Spirit, or within the province of his unique work. The instructions were given by divine authority, by infallible guidance, and as a part of the work which the Holy Spirit was sent down to accomplish. Under the direction and guidance of that Spirit the apostles were to go forth; by his aid they were to preach the gospel, to organize the church, to establish its order and its doctrines; and hence, the entire work was declared to be by his direction. Though in his larger and more mighty influences the Spirit did not descend until the day of Pentecost (Luk_24:49; compare Acts 2), yet, in some measure, his influence was imparted to the apostles before the ascension of Christ, Joh_20:22. Had given commandments - Particularly the command to preach the gospel to all nations, Mat_28:19; Mar_16:15-19. It may be worthy of remark, that the word “commandments,” as a noun in the plural number, does not occur in the original. The single word which is translated, “had given commandments” is a participle, and means simply “having commanded.” There is no need, therefore, of supposing that there is reference here to any other command than to that great and glorious injunction to preach the gospel to every creature. That was a command of so much importance as to be worthy of a distinct record, as constituting the sum of all that the Saviour taught them after his resurrection. The apostles - The eleven that remained after the treason and death of Judas. Whom he had chosen - Mat_10:1-4; Luk_6:12-16.

2. Clarke, “After that he, through the Holy Ghost, etc. - This clause has been variously translated: the simple meaning seems to be this - that Christ communicated the Holy Spirit to his disciples, after his resurrection, as he had not done before. In Luk_ 24:45, it is said that he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures; and in Joh_20:22, that he breathed on them, and said, receive ye the Holy Ghost. Previously to this, we may suppose that the disciples were only on particular

occasions made partakers of the Holy Spirit; but from this time it is probable that they had a measure of this supernatural light and power constantly resident in them. By this they were not only able to proclaim the truth, but to discern the meaning of all the Old Testament Scriptures which referred to Christ; and to appoint whatever rites or ordinances were necessary for the establishment of his Church. There were many things which the apostles said, did, and decreed, for which they had no verbal instructions from our Lord, at least, none that are recorded in the Gospels; we may therefore conclude that these were suggested to them by that Holy Spirit which now became resident in them, and that it is to this that St. Luke refers in this verse, After that he, through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments unto the apostles.

3. Gill, “Until the day in which he was taken up,.... That is, into heaven. The
historian suggests, that his former treatise took in the main and principal things Jesus did and taught, until such time that he ascended to heaven: after that he, through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments unto the apostles, whom he had chosen: our Lord having chosen twelve of his own free grace and goodness, and not according to their worth and merit, to be his apostles, a little before his ascension to heaven, gave them more express and explicit commands and orders where they should go, into all the world, to all nations; and what they should preach, the whole Gospel, salvation by faith in him, and particularly repentance and remission of sins; and what ordinances they should require believers to attend to; and how they themselves should conduct and behave in their work: the phrase, "through the Holy Ghost", may either be read in connection with "had given commandments", as the Vulgate and Arabic versions read, and as we do; and the sense be, that these commands which Christ gave to his apostles, were not merely his orders, as man, but were what the Holy Ghost was equally concerned in with him, and were from him as God, and so carried a divine authority with them; and at the same time that he gave them to them, he breathed into them the Holy Ghost, whereby they had a more clear view of his doctrines and ordinances, and were more qualified to minister them; and besides, had an intimation given them, that they might expect still greater gifts of the Holy Ghost: or it may be read with the latter clause, "whom he had chosen"; as in the Syriac and Ethiopic versions; and then the meaning is, that just before his being taken up to heaven, he gave some special orders and directions to his apostles, whom he had chosen to that office through the Holy Ghost, and not through human affection in him, or according to any desert of theirs; but as under the influence of the Holy Spirit, with which, as man, he was anointed without measure; and whose gifts and graces he communicated to his disciples, to fit them for the service to which they were appointed: or with the apostles; they being sent by the Holy Ghost, as well as by Christ.

4. Henry, “The period of the evangelical story is fixed to the day in which he was taken up, Act_1:2. Then it was that he left this world, and his bodily presence was no more in it. St. Mark's gospel concludes with the Lord's being received up into heaven (Mar_16:19), and so does St. Luke's, Luk_24:51. Christ continued doing and teaching to the last, till he was taken up to the other work he had to do within the veil. 5. Jamison, “after that he, through the Holy Ghost, had given

commandments, etc. — referring to the charge recorded in Mat_28:18-20; Mar_ 16:15-18; Luk_24:44-49. It is worthy of notice that nowhere else are such communications of the risen Redeemer said to have been given “through the Holy Ghost.” In general, this might have been said of all He uttered and all He did in His official character; for it was for this very end that God “gave not the Spirit by measure unto Him” (Joh_3:34). But after His resurrection, as if to signify the new relation in which He now stood to the Church, He signalized His first meeting with the assembled disciples by breathing on them (immediately after dispensing to them His peace) and saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (Joh_20:22) thus anticipating the donation of the Spirit from His hands (see on Joh_20:21, Joh_20:22); and on the same principle His parting charges are here said to have been given “through the Holy Ghost,” as if to mark that He was now all redolent with the Spirit; that what had been husbanded, during His suffering work, for His own necessary uses, had now been set free, was already overflowing from Himself to His disciples, and needed but His ascension and glorification to flow all forth. (See on Joh_7:39.)

6. RWP, “Until the day in which (achri hēs hēmeras). Incorporation of the antecedent
into the relative clause and the change of case hēi (locative) to hēs (genitive). Was received up (anelēmpthē). First aorist passive indicative of analambanō. Common verb to lift anything up (Act_10:16) or person as Paul (Act_20:13). Several times of the Ascension of Jesus to heaven (Mar_16:19; Act_1:2, Act_1:11, Act_1:22; 1Ti_ 3:16) with or without “into heaven” (eis ton ouranon). This same verb is used of Elijah’s translation to heaven in the lxx (2 Kings 2:11). The same idea, though not this word, is in Luk_24:51. See note on Luk_9:51 for analēmpsis of the Ascension. Had given commandment (enteilamenos). First aorist middle participle of entellō (from en and tellō, to accomplish), usually in the middle, old verb, to enjoin. This special commandment refers directly to what we call the commission given the apostles before Christ ascended on high (Joh_20:21-23; Mat_28:16-20; Mar_16:15-18; 1Co_15:6; Luk_ 24:44-49). He had given commands to them when they were first chosen and when they were sent out on the tour of Galilee, but the immediate reference is as above. Through the Holy Spirit (dia pneumatos hagiou). In his human life Jesus was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This applies to the choice of the apostles (Luk_6:13) and to these special commands before the Ascension. Whom he had chosen (hous exelexato). Aorist middle indicative, not past perfect. The same verb (eklexamenos) was used by Luke in describing the choice of the twelve by Jesus (Luk_6:13). But the aorist does not stand “for” our English pluperfect as Hackett says. That is explaining Greek by English. The Western text here adds: “And ordered to proclaim the gospel.”

7. Calvin, “Even until that day. Therefore, the ascension of Christ is the end of the history of the gospel. For he hath ascended, saith Paul, that he might fulfill all

things, (Ephesians 4:10.) Our faith gathereth other fruit thereby; but it shall be sufficient to note in this place, that our redemption was fully complete and finished then when Christ did ascend unto his Father; and, therefore, that Luke did fully perform his duty in this narration, as touching the doctrine and works of Christ. And he is said to be taken up, that we may know that he is truly departed out of this world, lest we should consent unto their dotings who think that in his ascension there was no alteration of place made. Commandment by the Holy Ghost Luke showeth in these words, that Christ did not so depart out of the world that he did no longer care for us; for in that he hath ordained a perpetual government in his Church, he thereby declareth that he had a care to provide for our salvation; yea, he hath promised that he will be present with his to the end, (Matthew 28:20,) like as, indeed, he is always present by his ministers. Luke, therefore, doth show unto us, that Christ did no sooner depart hence, but straightway he provided for the government of his Church; whence we may gather that he is careful for our salvation. And this his providence hath Paul plainly noted in the place lately cited, when he saith, That he hath fulfilled all things, making some apostles, some evangelists, some pastors, etc. But these commandments, which the evangelist saith Christ gave unto his disciples, do I interpret of the preaching of the gospel; like as ambassadors use to be instructed with certain precepts before they go of their embassage, lest they should rashly attempt any thing contrary to his will and mind that sendeth them. And all this is spoken in commendation of that doctrine which the apostles taught. The which that it may appear more manifestly, every thing is to be marked in order as it lieth. First of all, he saith they were elect and chosen of Christ, that we may be certain of their calling unto that function. Neither doth he in this place set God’s election against man’s merits, but only affirmeth that they were raised up by God, and that they did not rashly take upon them this function. That is true, indeed, that they were freely chosen; but now have we to inquire what is Luke’s drift in this place. I say that he hath respect unto nothing else, but that we may be certain of the calling of the apostles, that we may learn not to have respect unto men, but unto the Son of God, the author thereof, because this must always be a maxim in the Church, that no man usurp any honor. Secondly, he saith, that they were instructed of Christ what they should do. As if he should say, that they uttered not their own inventions, but they delivered that sincerely and faithfully which was enjoined them by their heavenly Master. And to the end that that which Christ taught them might be the more reverenced, he addeth this, that this was done by the direction of the Holy Ghost. Not because the Son of God had any need to be guided by any other, who is eternal wisdom, but because he was also man, lest any man should think that he did deliver those things unto his disciples which he delivered by man’s wit and reason, he calleth us back expressly unto the divine authority. Like as the Lord himself doth so often affirm, that he taught nothing but that which he had received of his Father; and therefore he saith, that his doctrine was not his own. Therefore, he signifieth that in the preaching of the gospel there is nothing which issueth from man’s brain, but that it is the divine ordinance of the Spirit, whereunto the whole world must be subject.

3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

1. Barnes, “He showed himself - The resurrection of Jesus was the great fact on which the truth of the gospel was to be established. Hence, the sacred writers so often refer to it, and establish it by so many arguments. As the fact of his resurrection lay at the foundation of all that Luke was about to record in his history, it was of importance that he should state clearly the sum of the evidence of it in the beginning of his work. After his passion - After he suffered, referring particularly to his death as the consummation of his sufferings. The word “passion” with us means commonly excitement or agitation of mind, as love, hope, fear, anger, etc. The original means “after he suffered.” The word “passion,” applied to the Saviour, denotes his last sufferings. Thus, in the Litany of the Episcopal Church, it is beautifully said, “By thine agony and bloody sweat; by thy cross and passion, good Lord, deliver us.” The Greek word of the same derivation is rendered sufferings in 1Pe_1:11; 1Pe_4:13; Col_1:24. By many infallible proofs - The word rendered here “infallible proofs” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. In Greek authors it denotes an infallible sign or argument by which anything can be certainly known (Schleusner). Here it means the same - evidence that he was alive which could not deceive, or in which they could not be mistaken. That evidence consisted in his eating with them, conversing with them, meeting them at various times and places, working miracles Joh_21:6-7, and uniformly showing himself to be the same friend with whom they had been familiar for more than three years. This evidence was infallible: (1) Because it was to them unexpected. They had manifestly not believed that he would rise again, Joh_20:25; Luk_24:19-24. There was, therefore, no delusion resulting from any expectation of seeing him, or from a design to impose on people. (2) It was impossible that they could have been deceived in relation to one with whom they had been familiar for more than three years. No people in the possession of reason could be made to believe that they really saw, talked with, and ate with, a friend whom they had known so long and familiarly, unless it was real. (3) There were enough of them to avoid the possibility of deception. Though it might be pretended that one man could be imposed on, yet it could not be that an imposition could be practiced for forty days on eleven men, who were all at first incredulous. (4) He was with them sufficient time to give evidence of his personal identity. It might be pretended, if they had seen him but once, that they were deceived. But they saw him

often, and for the space of more than a month. (5) They saw him in various places and at times in which there could be no deception. If they had pretended that they saw him rise, or saw him at twilight in the morning when he rose, it might have been said that they were deluded by something that was merely the result of imagination. It might have been said that, expecting to see him rise, their hopes, in the agitated state of their minds, deceived them, and that they only fancied that they saw him. But it is not pretended by the sacred writers that they saw him rise. An impostor “would have affirmed this, and would not have omitted it.” But the sacred writers affirmed that they saw him after he was risen; when they were free from agitation; when they could judge coolly; in Jerusalem; in their own company when at worship; when journeying to Emmaus; when in Galilee; when he went with them to Mount Olivet; and when he ascended to heaven: and how could they have been deceived in this? (6) He appeared to them as he had always done, as a friend, companion, and benefactor; he ate with them, performed a miracle before them, was engaged in the same work as he was before he suffered, renewed the same promise of the Holy Spirit, and gave them his commands respecting the work which he had died to establish, and the work which he required them to do - carrying out the same purposes and plans which he had before he died. In all these circumstances it was impossible that they should be deceived. Being seen of them forty days - There are no less than thirteen different appearances of Jesus to his disciples recorded. For an account of them, see the notes at the end of the gospel of Matthew. Speaking to them ... - He was not only seen by them, but he continued the same topics of discourse as before his sufferings; thus showing that he was the same person that had suffered, and that his heart was still intent on the same great work. And as his heart was occupied with the same purposes which endued his attention before he suffered, we are taught by this that we should aim at the same great work in all the circumstances of our being. Afflictions, persecutions, and the prospect of death never turned him from his great plan; nor should they be allowed to divert our minds from the great work which God has given us to do. The things pertaining to the kingdom of God - For an explanation of this phrase, the kingdom of God, see the notes on Mat_3:2. The meaning is, Jesus gave them instructions about the organization, spread, and edification of his church.

2. Clarke, “To whom - he showed himself alive - by many infallible proofs Πολλοις τεκµηριοις; by many proofs of such a nature, and connected with such circumstances, as to render them indubitable; for this is the import of the Greek word τεκµηριον. The proofs were such as these: 1. Appearing to several different persons at different times. 2. His eating and drinking with them. 3. His meeting them in Galilee according to his own appointment. 4. His subjecting his body to be touched and handled by them. 5. His instructing them in the nature and doctrines of his kingdom. 6. His appearing to upwards of five hundred persons at once, 1Co_15:6. And, 7. Continuing these public manifestations of himself for forty days. The several appearances of Jesus Christ, during the forty days of his sojourning with his disciples, between his resurrection and ascension, are thus enumerated by Bishop

Pearce: The first was to Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, Mat_28:1-9. The second, to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, Luk_24:15. The third, to Simon Peter, Luk_24:34. The fourth, to ten of the apostles, Thomas being absent, Luk_24:36, and Joh_20:19. (All these four appearances took place on the day of his resurrection.) The fifth was to the eleven disciples, Thomas being then with them, Joh_20:26. The sixth, to seven of the apostles in Galilee, at the sea of Tiberias, Joh_21:4. The seventh, to James, 1Co_15:7, most probably in Jerusalem, and when Jesus gave an order for all his apostles to assemble together, as in Act_1:4. The eighth, when they were assembled together, and when he led them unto Bethany, Luk_24:50, from whence he ascended to heaven. But see the note on Joh_21:14, for farther particulars. Pertaining to the kingdom of God - Whatever concerned the doctrine, discipline, and establishment of the Christian Church.

3. Gill, “To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion,.... That is, after his sufferings and death; for that he suffered many things, and at last death itself, is certain from the acknowledgment of the Jews themselves, who own, that they put him to death on the passover eve (d); as well as from the accounts of the evangelists; and from the soldiers not breaking his legs, when the rest that were crucified with him were broken, because he was already dead; and from his "ricardium" being pierced with a spear, from whence blood and water sprung, after which it was impossible he should be alive; and from the testimony of the centurion who watched him, to whom Pilate sent to know if he was dead, and how long he had been dead; and from his being buried, and lying in the grave so long as he did: and yet after, and not withstanding this, "he showed himself alive"; he raised himself from the dead, and hereby declared himself to be the Son of God with power, which cannot be said of others; there were others that were alive after death, but not by their own power; as the widow of Sarepta's son, the daughter of Jairus, Lazarus, and the widow of Nain's son; but these did not "show themselves alive", as Christ did, who appeared often to his apostles: for after he had first appeared to Mary Magdalene, he showed himself to the two disciples going to Emmaus; then to ten of them, Thomas being absent; after that to them all, Thomas being present, when he convinced him of the truth of his resurrection; after that he appeared to seven of the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and then to all the apostles; and to five hundred brethren at once on a mountain in Galilee; and once to James alone, and to them all again when he was parted from them and went up to heaven; and so they must be proper and sufficient witnesses of his resurrection: and this evidence of his being alive, he gave to them, by many infallible proofs; or by many signs and tokens, and which were most sure and unquestionable arguments of his being alive; as his eating and drinking with them, walking and talking with them in a free and familiar manner, showing them his hands and his feet, and side, that they might see the scars which the nails and spear had made; and which were not only a proof that he was risen again, but risen again in the same body in which he suffered; and that they might feel and handle him, and know that he was not a spirit, a phantom, a mere apparition, but was really risen and alive: being seen of them forty days; not that he was seen by them for forty days together continually, but at certain times, within the space of forty days; for between his first and last appearance, many others intervening, such a length of time run out; so that it was not a single and

sudden appearance that surprised them; but there were many of them, and a distance between them, and this for a considerable term of time; hence they had opportunity of reflecting upon these appearances, and of satisfying themselves of the truth of things. This number of "forty days" is a remarkable one in Scripture. The flood was forty days upon the earth; and so long Moses was in the mount with God; such a number of days the spies were searching the land of Canaan; so many days Goliath presented himself to the armies of Israel; and so long a time Elijah went in the strength of the meat the angel provided for him; and for such a length of time the prophet Ezekiel was to bear the iniquity of the house of Judah; and such a term of time was given out by Jonah for the destruction of Nineveh; and so many days Christ fasted, and was tempted in the wilderness. The Jews pretend (e), that forty days before Jesus was put to death he was led forth, and a crier went before him, declaring, that whoever would, had liberty to testify to his innocence if they could, but no man appeared for him: but this is false; the truth of the matter is, that for forty days after his resurrection he showed himself to his disciples, and by proving the truth of his resurrection, he proved his own innocence and uprightness. If the testimony of Rabbenu Hakadosh, as cited by Galatinus, could be depended on, the Jews had a notion of this forty days' conversation of the Messiah with his disciples, after his resurrection; who say (f), "the Messiah, after his resurrection, shall converse with the righteous, and they shall hear his precepts "forty days", answerable to those forty days in which he shall be in the wilderness to afflict his soul, before they shall kill him; and these being finished, he shall ascend to heaven, and sit at the right hand of God, as it is said, Psa_110:1. But this seems rather to be the pious fraud of some Christian, than the words of a Jew: however, they do say (g), that "the days of the Messiah are "forty days", as it is said, Psa_ 95:10 "forty years long was I grieved"; or, as they interpret it, "shall I be grieved with this generation": intimating, that the generation of the Messiah, and of the wilderness, would be much alike, and equally grieving to God, and reckoning a day for a year, as the Lord did with that generation, Num_14:33. These forty days Christ was with his disciples, may be an emblem of the forty years which were to run out from his death, to his coming again to take vengeance on the Jewish nation; for so long time was there from thence to the destruction of Jerusalem. And Christ was not only seen of the disciples at certain seasons during this space of time, but he was also heard by them: for it follows, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God; the kingdom of the Messiah, the Gospel dispensation; concerning the doctrines of the Gospel they were to preach, and the ordinances of it they were to administer; concerning the church of God, the nature, order, and officers of it, and the laws and rules by which it should be governed; concerning the kingdom of grace, what it consists of, and wherein it lies; and of the kingdom of glory, of meetness for it, his own grace, and of the right unto it, his own justifying righteousness: some of these things they might have before but very little knowledge of; and may be these are the things he had to say to them, and which, till now, they could not bear; and being no more to be with them in person, he instructs them in them,

4. Henry, “ The truth of Christ's resurrection is maintained and evidenced, Act_1:3. That part of what was related in the former treatise was so material that it was necessary

to be upon all occasions repeated. The great evidence of his resurrection was that he showed himself alive to his apostles; being alive, he showed himself so, and he was seen of them. They were honest men, and one may depend upon their testimony; but the question is whether they were not imposed upon, as many a well-meaning man is. No, they were not; for, 1. The proofs were infallible, tekmēria - plain indications, both that he was alive (he walked and talked with them, he ate and drank with them) and that it was he himself, and not another; for he showed them again and again the marks of the wounds in his hands, and feet, and side, which was the utmost proof the thing was capable of or required. 2. They were many, and often repeated: He was seen by them forty days, not constantly residing with them, but frequently appearing to them, and bringing them by degrees to be fully satisfied concerning it, so that all their sorrow for his departure was done away by it. Christ's staying upon earth so long after he had entered upon his state of exaltation and glory, to confirm the faith of his disciples and comfort their hearts, was such an instance of condescension and compassion to believers as may fully assure us that we have a high priest that is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. III. A general hint given of the instructions he furnished his disciples with, now that he was about to leave them, and they, since he breathed on them and opened their understandings, were better able to receive them. 1. He instructed them concerning the work they were to do: He gave commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen. Note, Christ's choice is always attended with his charge. Those whom he elected into the apostleship expected he should give them preferments, instead of which he gave them commandments. When he took his journey, and gave authority to his servants, and to every one his work (Mar_13:34), he gave them commandments through the Holy Ghost, which he was himself filled with as Mediator, and which he had breathed into them. In giving them the Holy Ghost, he gave them his commandments; for the Comforter will be a commander; and his office was to bring to their remembrance what Christ had said. He charged those that were apostles by the Holy Ghost; so the words are placed. It was their receiving the Holy Ghost that sealed their commission, Joh_ 20:22. He was not taken up till after he had given them their charge, and so finished his work. 2. He instructed them concerning the doctrine they were to preach: He spoke to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. He had given them a general idea of that kingdom, and the certain time it should be set up in the world (in his parable, Mk. 13), but here he instructed them more in the nature of it, as a kingdom of grace in this world and of glory in the other, and opened to them that covenant which is the great charter by which it is incorporated. Now this was intended, (1.) To prepare them to receive the Holy Ghost, and to go through that which they were designed for. He tells them in secret what they must tell the world; and they shall find that the Spirit of truth, when he comes, will say the same. (2.) To be one of the proofs of Christ's resurrection; so it comes in here; the disciples, to whom he showed himself alive, knew that it was he, not only by what he showed them, but by what he said to them. None but he could speak thus clearly, thus fully, of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. He did not entertain them with discourses of politics or the kingdoms of men, of philosophy or the kingdom of nature, but pure divinity and the kingdom of grace, the things which most nearly concerned them, and those to whom they were sent.

5. Jamison, “showed himself alive — As the author is about to tell us that “the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus” was the great burden of apostolic preaching, so the subject is here filly introduced by an allusion to the primary evidence on which that great

fact rests, the repeated and undeniable manifestations of Himself in the body to the assembled disciples, who, instead of being predisposed to believe it, had to be overpowered by the resistless evidence of their own senses, and were slow of yielding even to this (Mar_16:14). after his passion — or, suffering. This primary sense of the word “passion” has fallen into disuse; but it is nobly consecrated in the phraseology of the Church to express the Redeemer’s final endurances. seen of them forty days — This important specification of time occurs here only. speaking of — rather “speaking.” the things pertaining to the kingdom of God — till now only in germ, but soon to take visible form; the earliest and the latest burden of His teaching on earth.

6. RWP, “To whom also (hois kai). He chose them and then also manifested
himself to these very same men that they might have personal witness to give. Shewed himself alive (parestēsen heauton zōnta). To the disciples the first Sunday evening (Mar_16:14; Luk_24:36-43; Joh_20:19-25), the second Sunday evening (Joh_ 20:26-29), at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23), on the mountain in Galilee (Mat_28:1620; Mar_16:15-18; 1Co_15:6), to the disciples in Jerusalem and Olivet (Luk_24:44-53; Mar_16:19.; Act_1:1-11). Luke uses this verb paristēmi 13 times in the Acts both transitively and intransitively. It is rendered by various English words (present, furnish, provide, assist, commend). The early disciples including Paul never doubted the fact of the Resurrection, once they were convinced by personal experience. At first some doubted like Thomas (Mar_16:14; Luk_24:41; Joh_20:24.; Mat_28:17). But after that they never wavered in their testimony to their own experience with the Risen Christ, “whereof we are witnesses” Peter said (Act_3:15). They doubted at first, that we may believe, but at last they risked life itself in defence of this firm faith. After his passion (meta to pathein auton). Neat Greek idiom, meta with the articular infinitive (second aorist active of paschō) and the accusative of general reference, “after the suffering as to him.” For pathein used absolutely of Christ’s suffering see also Act_ 17:3; Act_26:23. By many proofs (en pollois tekmēriois). Literally, “in many proofs.” Tekmērion is only here in the N.T., though an old and common word in ancient Greek and occurring in the Koiné[28928]š (papyri, etc.). The verb tekmairō, to prove by sure signs, is from tekmar, a sign. Luke does not hesitate to apply the definite word “proofs” to the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ after full investigation on the part of this scientific historian. Aristotle makes a distinction between tekmērion (proof) and sēmeion (sign) as does Galen the medical writer. Appearing (optanomenos). Present middle participle from late verb optanō, late Koiné [28928]š verb from root optō seen in opsomai, ōphthēn. In lxx, papyri of second century b.c. (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 83). Only here in the N.T. For optasia for vision, see note on Act_26:19; Luk_1:22; Luk_24:23. By the space of forty days (di' hēmerōn tesserakonta). At intervals (dia, between) during the forty days, ten appearances being known to us. Jesus was not with them

continually now in bodily presence. The period of forty days is given here alone. The Ascension was thus ten days before Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came. Moses was in the mount forty days (Exo_24:18) and Jesus fasted forty days (Mat_4:2). In the Gospel of Luke 24 this separation of forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension is not drawn. The things concerning the Kingdom of God (ta peri tēs basileias tou theou). This phrase appears 33 times in Luke’s Gospel, 15 times in Mark, 4 times in Matthew who elsewhere has “the kingdom of heaven,” once in John, and 6 times in Acts. No essential distinction is to be drawn between the two for the Jews often used “heaven” rather than “God” to avoid using the Tetragrammaton. But it is noticeable how the word kingdom drops out of Acts. Other words like gospel (euaggelion) take the place of “kingdom.” Jesus was fond of the word “kingdom” and Luke is fond of the idiom “the things concerning” (ta peri). Certainly with Jesus the term “kingdom” applies to the present and the future and covers so much that it is not strange that the disciples with their notions of a political Messianic kingdom (Act_1:6) were slow to comprehend the spiritual nature of the reign of God.

THE conversations and intercourse between our Lord and His apostles during the forty days which elapsed from the resurrection to the ascension must have been of intensest interest, yet, like so much that we should esteem interesting concerning the heroes of Scripture and their lives, these things are wrapped round with thickest darkness. We get a glimpse of the risen Christ here and there. We are told He was conversing with His disciples touching the things concerning the kingdom of God. And then we are practically referred to the Acts of the Apostles if we wish to know what topics His resurrection discourses dealt with. And when we do, so’ refer to the Acts we find that His disciples moved along the line of Christian development with steps sure, unfaltering, and decided, because they doubtless felt themselves nerved by the well-remembered directions, the conscious guidance of the Eternal Son of God, vouchsafed in the commandments given by Him in the power of the Holy Ghost. Let us reflect for a little on the characteristics of Christ’s risen appearances to His disciples. I note then in the first place that they were intermittent, and not continuous, here and there, to Mary Magdalene at one time; to the disciples journeying to Emmaus, to the assembled twelve, to five hundred brethren at once, at other times. Such were the manifestations of our Lord; and some may feel inclined to cavil at them, and ask, Why did. He not dwell continuously and perpetually with His disciples as before His resurrection? And yet, reading our narrative in the light of other scriptures, we might expect the resurrection appearances of Christ to have been of this description. In one place in the Gospel narrative we read that our Lord replied thus to a section of His adversaries: "In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven." Now we often read of angelic appearances in Holy Scripture, in the Old and New Testament alike. We read too of appearances of Old Testament saints, as of Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration. And they are all like those of our Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection. They are sudden, independent of time or space or material barriers, and yet are visible and tangible though glorified. Such in Genesis was Abraham’s vision of angels at the tent door, when they did eat and drink with him. Such was Lot’s vision of angels who came and lodged with him in wicked Sodom. Such

was Peter’s vision when an angel released him, guided him through the intricate mazes of Jerusalem’s streets; and such were Christ’s appearances when, as on this occasion, His disciples, now accustomed to His risen and glorified form, tested Him as of old with the question, "Lord, dost Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" I. Now let us here notice the naturalness of this query concerning the restoration of the kingdom. The Apostles evidently shared the national aspirations of the Jews at that time. A large number of books have come to light of late years, which show what a keen expectation of the Messiah’s kingdom and His triumph over the Romans existed at the time, and prior to the time, of our Saviour. The book of Enoch, discovered one hundred years ago in Abyssinia, and translated into English in the beginning of the present century, was written a century at least before the Incarnation. The book of Jubilees was written in Palestine about the time of our Lord’s birth; the Psalter of Solomon dates from the same period. All these works give us clearest glimpses into the inner mind, the religious tone, of the Jewish nation at that time. The pious unsophisticated people of Galilee were daily expecting the establishment of the Messianic kingdom; but the kingdom they expected was no spiritual institution, it was simply an earthly scene of material glory, where the Jews would once again be exalted above all surrounding nations, and the hated invader expelled from the fair plains of Israel. We can scarcely realise or understand the force and naturalness of this question, "Dost Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" as put by these Galilean peasants till one takes up Archbishop Laurence’s translation of the book of Enoch, and sees how this eager expectation dominated every other feeling in the Jewish mind of that period, and was burned into the very secrets of their existence by the tyranny of Roman rule. Thus, let us take the forty-seventh chapter of the book of Enoch, which may very possibly have been in the thoughts of the Apostles as they presented this query to their Lord. In that chapter we read the following words, attributed unto Enoch: "There I beheld the Ancient of Days, whose head was like white wool; and with Him another, whose countenance resembled that of man. His countenance was full of grace, like that of one of the holy angels. Then I inquired of one of the angels who went with me, and who showed me every secret thing concerning this Son of Man, who He was, whence He was, and why He accompanied the Ancient of Days. He answered and said to me, This is the Son of Man, to whom righteousness belongs, with whom righteousness has dwelt, and who will reveal all the treasures of that which is concealed. For the Lord of Spirits has chosen Him, and His portion has surpassed all before the Lord of Spirits in everlasting uprightness. This Son of Man whom thou beholdest shall raise up kings and the mighty from their couches, and the powerful from their thrones; shall loosen the bridles of the powerful, and break in pieces the teeth of sinners. He shall hurl kings from their thrones and their dominions, because they will not exalt and praise Him, nor humble themselves before Him, by whom their kingdoms were granted to them. The countenance likewise of the mighty shall He cast down, filling them with confusion. Darkness shall be their habitation, and worms shall be their bed; nor from that their bed shall they hope to be again raised, because they exalted not the Name of the Lord of Spirits." This is one specimen of the Messianic expectations, which were just then worked up to fever pitch among the Galileans especially, and were ever leading them to burst out into bloody rebellion against the power of the Romans. We might multiply, such quotations fourfold did our space permit. This one extract must suffice to show the tone and quality of the religious literature upon which the souls of the Apostles had fed and been sustained, when they proposed this query, "Dost Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" They were thinking simply of such a kingdom as the book of Enoch foretold. This very point seems to us one of the special and most striking evidences for the

inspiration and supernatural direction of the writers of the New Testament. Their natural, purely human, and national conception of the kingdom of God was one thing; their final, their divinely taught and inspired conception of that kingdom is quite another thing. I cannot see how, upon any ground of mere human experience or human development, the Apostles could have risen from the gross, material conceptions of the book of Enoch, wherein the kingdom of the Messiah would have simply been a purified, reformed, and exalted copy of the Roman Empire of that day, to the spiritual and truly catholic idea of a kingdom not of this world, which ruled over spirits rather than over bodies. Some persons maintain that Christianity in its doctrines, organisation, and discipline was but the outcome of natural forces working in the world at that epoch. But take this doctrine alone, "My kingdom is not of this world," announced by Christ before Pilate, and impressed upon the Apostles by revelation after revelation, and experience after experience, which they only very gradually assimilated and understood. Where did it come from? How was it the outcome of natural forces? The whole tendency of Jewish thought was in the opposite direction. Nationalism of the most narrow, particular, and limited kind was the predominant idea, specially among those Galilean provincials who furnished the vast majority of the earliest disciples of Jesus Christ. Our minds have been so steeped in the principles of Christian liberalism, we have been so thoroughly taught the rejection of race-prejudice, that we can scarcely realise the narrow and limited ideas which must have ruled the minds of the first Christians, and therefore we miss the full force of this argument for the Divine character of the Christian religion. A Roman Catholic peasant from Connaught, an Ulster Orangeman, a Celtic Presbyterian Highlander, none of these will take a wide, tolerant, generous view of religion. They view the question through their own narrow provincial spectacles. And yet any one of them would have been broad, liberal, and comprehensive when contrasted with the tone and thought of the Galilean provincials of our Lord’s day. They lived lonely, solitary lives, away from the din, the pressure, and the business of daily life; they knew nothing of what the great outside world was thinking and doing; they fed their spirits on the glories of the past, and had no room in their gloomy fanaticism for aught that was liberal and truly spiritual. How could men like them have developed the idea of the Catholic Church, boundless as the earth itself, limited by no hereditary or fleshly bonds, and trammelled by no circumstances of race, climate, or kindred? The magnificence of the idea, the grandeur of the conception, is the truest and most sufficient evidence of the divinity of its origin. "In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female," the rapt expression of an inspired and illuminated Apostle, when compared with this query, "Dost Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" the darkened utterance of carnal and uninspired minds groping after truth, furnishes to the thinking soul the clearest evidence of the presence of a supernatural power, of a Divine enlightenment, vouchsafed to the Apostles upon the Day of Pentecost. If this higher knowledge, this nobler conception, this spiritualised ideal, came not from God, whence did it come? I do not think we can press this point of the catholicity and universality of the Christian idea and the Christian society too far. We cannot possibly make too much of it. There were undoubtedly Christian elements, or elements whence Christian ideas were developed, prevalent in the current Judaism of the day. Many a clause of the Lord’s Prayer and of the Sermon on the Mount can be paralleled almost word for word from the Jewish teachers and writings of the times immediately preceding our Lord. There was nothing in Christ of that petty vanity of little minds which craves after complete originality, and which will be nothing if not completely new. He was indeed the wise and the good householder, who brought forth out of His treasures things old as well as things

new: Many a teacher and thinker, like Philo, whose ideas had been broadened by the Divine training of banishment and enforced exile in Alexandria or in Asia Minor, had risen to nobler and wider views than were current in Palestine. But it was not among these, or such as these, that the catholic ideas of the gospel took their rise. Christianity took its rise among men whose ideas, whose national aspirations, whose religious hopes, were of the narrowest and most limited kind; and yet, amid such surroundings and planted in such a soil, Christianity assumed at once a world-wide mission, rejected at once and peremptorily all mere Judaic exclusiveness, and claimed for itself the widest scope and development. The universality of the Gospel message, the comprehensive, allembracing character of the Gospel teaching, as set forth in our Lord’s parting words, is, we conclude, an ample evidence of its Divine and superhuman origin. II. In this passage again there lies hidden the wisest practical teaching for the Church of all ages. We have warnings against the folly which seeks to unravel the future and penetrate that veil of darkness by which our God in mercy shrouds the unknown. We have taught us the benefits which attend the uncertainties of our Lord’s return and of the end of this present dispensation. "It is not for you to know times or seasons." Let us endeavour to work out this point, together with the manifold illustrations of it which the history of the Church affords. (a) The wisdom of the Divine answer will best be seen if we take the matter thus, and suppose our Lord to have responded, to the apostolic appeal fixing some definite date for the winding-up of man’s probation state, and for that manifestation of the sons of God which will take place at His appearing and His kingdom. Our Lord, in fixing upon some such definite date, must have chosen one that, was either near at hand or else one that was removed far off into the distant future. In either of these cases He must have defeated the great object of the Divine society which He was founding. That object was simply this, to teach men how to lead the life of God amid the children of men. The Christian religion has indeed sometimes been taunted with being an unpractical religion, turning men’s eyes and attention from the pressing business and interests of daily life to a far-away spiritual state with which man has nothing to do, at least for the present. But is this the case? Has Christianity proved itself unpractical? If so, what has placed Christendom at the head of civilisation? The tendencies of great principles are best shown in the actions of vast masses. Individuals may be better or worse than their creeds, but if we wish to see the average result of doctrines we must take their adherents in the mass and inquire as to their effect on them. Here, then, is-where we may triumph. The religions of Greece and of Rome are identical in principle, and even in their deities, with the paganism of India, as the investigations of comparative historians have abundantly shown. Compare Christendom and India from the simply practical point of view, and which can show the better record? The paganism of India, Persia, and Western Asia was the parent of the paganism of Greece and Rome. The child has passed away and given place to a noble and spiritual religion, while the parent still remains. And now what is the result? Can the boldest deny that while barbarism, decay, and death reign over the realms of Asiatic paganism, though starting with every advantage upon its side, concerning the religion of the Cross, which is taunted with being an unpractical religion, and concerning that religion alone, can it be said in the language of the rapt Jewish seer, "Wheresoever the waters of that river have come, behold there is life," and that the fair plains, and crowded cities, and the massive material development and civilisation of Europe and of America alike proclaim the truth, that Christianity has the promise of the life which now is as well as of that which is to come? (b) Our Lord’s answer to His Apostles was couched in words suited to develop this practical aspect of His religion. It refused to minister to mere human curiosity, and left

men uncertain as to the time of His return, that they might be fruitful workers in the great field of life. And now behold what ill results would have followed had He acted otherwise! The Master in fact says, It is not well for you to know the times or seasons, because such knowledge would strike at the root of practical Christianity. Uncertainty as to the time of the end is the most healthful state for the followers of Christ. Christ holds out the prospect of His own return for a twofold purpose: first, to comfort His people under the daily troubles of life -"Rejoice in the Lord alway: again I will say, Rejoice. Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand"; "Whatever our hope or joy or crown of glorying, are not even ye, before our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming"; "If we believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with Him" - these and dozens of other passages, which will recur in a moment to every student of St. Paul’s writings, prove the power to comfort and sustain exercised by the doctrine of Christ’s second coming. But there was another and still more powerful influence exercised by this doctrine. It stirred men up to perpetual watchfulness and untiring care. "Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour"; "Therefore be ye also ready, for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh"; "The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light,"-these and many a similar exhortation of the Master and of his chosen Apostles alike, indicate to us that another great object of this doctrine was to keep Christians perpetually alive with an intense anxiety and a sleepless watchfulness directed towards the person and appearing of Christ. The construction of the gospel narrative shows this. (c) There are in the New Testament, taken as a whole, two contrasted lines of prophecy concerning the Second Coming of Christ. If in one place the Lord Jesus speaks as if the date of His coming were fixed for His own generation and age, "Verily, I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away till all these things shall be fulfilled," in the very same context He indicates that it is only after a long time that the Lord of the servants will return, to take account of their dealings with the property entrusted to them. If St. Paul in one place seems to indicate to the Thessalonians the speedy appearing of Christ and the end of the dispensation, in another epistle he corrects such a misapprehension of his meaning. If the Revelation of St. John in one place represents the awful Figure who moves amid the Churches, watching their works and spying out their secret sins, as saying, "Behold, I come quickly," the same book pictures a long panorama of events, extending over vast spaces of time, destined yet to elapse before the revelation of the city of God and the final triumph of the saints. The doctrine of Christ’s second appearing is like many another doctrine in the New Testament. Like the doctrine of God’s election, which is undoubtedly there, and yet side by side with election appears as really and truly the doctrine of man’s free will; like the doctrine of God’s eternal and almighty love, side by side with which appears the existence of a personal devil, and of an abounding iniquity and sorrow which seems to contradict this doctrine; like the doctrine of the Godhead itself, where the Unity of the Divine Nature is most clearly taught, yet side by side therewith appears the manifold personality of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as existing in that Nature; - so too is it in the case of the doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming. We have a twofold antinomy. In one line of prophecy we have depicted the nearness and suddenness of Christ’s appearing; in another line we behold that tremendous event thrown into the dim and distant future. And what is the result upon the human mind of such opposite views? It is a healthy, useful, practical result. We are taught the certainty of the event, and the uncertainty of the time of that event; so that hope is stirred, comfort ministered, and watchfulness evoked. We can see this more clearly by imagining the opposite. Suppose Christ had responded to the spirit of the apostolic query, "Dost Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" and fixed the

precise date of His coming? He would in that case have altogether defeated the great end of His own work and labour. Suppose He had fixed it a thousand years from the time of His Ascension. Then indeed the doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming would have lost all personal and practical power over the lives of the generation of Christians then living, or who should live during the hundreds of years which were to elapse till the date appointed. The day of their death, the uncertainty of life, these would be the inspiring motives to activity and devotion felt by the early Christians; while, as a matter of fact, St. Paul never appeals to either of them, but ever appeals to the coming of Christ and His appearing to judgment as the motives to Christian zeal and diligence. But a more serious danger in any such prediction lurks behind. What would have been the result of any such precise prophecy upon the minds of the Christians who lived close to the time of its fulfilment? It would have at once defeated the great end of the Christian religion, as we have already defined it. The near approach of the great final catastrophe would have completely paralysed all exertion, and turned the members of Christ’s Church into idle, useless, unpractical religionists. We all know how the near approach of any great event, how the presence of any great excitement, hinders life’s daily work. A great joy or a great sorrow, either of them is utterly inconsistent with tranquil thought, with steady labour, with persistent and profitable exertions. The expectation-of some tremendous change, whether it be for happiness or misery, creates such a flutter in the spirit that steady application is simply out of the question. So would it have been in our supposed case. As the time fixed for the appearance of our Lord drew nigh, all work, business, labour, the manifold engagements of life, the rearing of families, the culture of the ground, the development of trade and commerce, would be considered a grand impertinence, and man’s powers and man’s life would be prostrated in view of the approaching catastrophe. (d) Again and again has history verified and amply justified the wisdom of the Master’s reply, "It is not for you to know times or seasons." It was justified in apostolic experience. The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians is a commentary on our Lord’s teaching in this passage. The Christians of Thessalonica imbibed the notion from St. Paul’s words that Christ’s appearance to judgment was at hand. Perhaps St. Paul’s words in his first Epistle led them into the mistake. The Apostle was not infallible on all questions. He was richly inspired, but he knew nothing of the future save what was expressly revealed, and beyond such express revelations he could only surmise and guess like other men. The Thessalonians, however, were led by him to expect the immediate appearance of Christ, and the result was just what I have depicted. The transcendent event, which they thought impending, paralysed exertion, destroyed honest and useful labour, scandalised the gospel cause, and compelled St. Paul to use the sternest, sharpest words of censure and rebuke. The language of St. Paul completely justifies our line of argument. He tells us that the spirits of the Thessalonians had been upset, the natural result of a great expectation had been experienced as we might humanly have predicted. The beginning of the second chapter of his Second Epistle proves this: "Now we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him; to the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by epistle as from us, as that the day of the Lord is present." See here how he dwells on mental perturbation as the result of high-strung expectation; and that is bad, for mental peace, not mental disturbance, is the portion of Christ’s people. Then again he indicates another result of which we have spoken as natural under such circumstances. Idleness and its long train of vices had followed hard upon the mental strain which found place for a time at Thessalonica, and so in the third chapter of the Epistle he writes, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our

Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly"; and then he defines the disorderliness of which he complains, "For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly, that work not at all, but are busy-bodies." Or, to put the matter in a concise shape, and interpret St. Paul into modern language, the expectation of the near approach of the judgment and the personal appearing of Christ had upset the spirits of the Thessalonians; it had so fluttered them they could not attend to ordinary business. Human nature then asserted itself. Idleness resulted from the mental disturbance. Idleness begot gossip, disorder, and scandals. The idlers indeed professed that they ceased from labour in order to give their whole attention to devotion. But St. Paul knew that there was no incompatibility between work and prayer, while he was convinced there was the closest union between idleness and sin. Idleness put on an appearance of great spirituality, but St. Paul effectually met the difficulty. He knew that an idler, no matter how spiritual he pretended to be, must eat, and so he strikes at the root of such mock religion by laying down, "If any will not work, neither let him eat,"- a good healthy practical rule, which soon restored the moral and spiritual tone of the Macedonian Church to its normal condition. (e) The experiences of Thessalonica have been often repeated down through the ages till we come to our own day. I remember a curious instance that I once read of exactly the same spirit, and exactly the same method of cure, as St. Paul used, in the case of an Egyptian monastery in the fifth century. The monks were then divided into two classes. There were monks who laboured diligently and usefully in communities, and there were others who lived idle lives as solitaries, pretending to a spirituality too great to permit them to engage in secular pursuits. A solitary one day entered a monastery presided over by a wise abbot. He found the monks all diligently employed, and, addressing them from his superior standpoint, said, "Labour not for the meat that perisheth." "That is very good, brother," said the abbot. "Take our brother away to his cell," he said to one of his attendants, who left him there to meditate. Nature, after a time, began to assert its sway, and the solitary became hungry. He heard the signal for the midday meal, and wondered that no man came to summon him. Time passed, and the evening meal was announced, and yet no invitation came. At last the solitary left his cell and proceeded in search of food, when the wise abbot impressed on him the Pauline rule that it was quite possible to unite work and worship, labouring for the bread that perisheth while feeding on the bread that is eternal. The tenth century again verified the wisdom of the Divine denial to reveal the future, or fix a date for Christ’s second coming. The year 1000 was regarded in the century immediately preceding it as the limit of the world’s existence and the date of Christ’s appearing. The belief in this view spread all over Europe, and the result was just the same as at Thessalonica. Men abandoned all work, they left their families to starve, and thought the one great object worth living for was devotion and preparation for their impending change. And the result was widespread misery, famine, disease, and death, while, instead of working any beneficial change upon society at large, the terror through which men had passed brought about, when the dreaded time had gone by, a reaction towards carelessness and vice, all the greater from the self-denial which they had practised for a time. And as it was in the earlier ages so has it been in later times. The people of London were, in the middle of the last century, deluded into a belief that on a certain day the Lord would appear to judgment, with the result that the business of London was suspended for the time. The lives of John Wesley and his fellow-evangelists tell us how diligently they seized the opportunity of preaching repentance and preparation for the coming of Christ, though they shared not the belief in the prediction which gained them their audience. While again in the present century there was a

widespread opinion about the year 1830 that the coming of Christ was at hand. It was the time when the Irvingite and Darbyite bodies sprang into existence, in which systems the near approach of the Second Coming forms an important element. Men then thought that it was a mere matter of day or weeks, and in consequence they acted just like the Thessalonians. In their ardour their minds were upset, their business and families neglected, and, as far as in them lay, the work of life and of civilisation was utterly destroyed. While when again we come to later times experience has taught that no men have been more profitless and unpractical Christians than the numbers, by no means inconsiderable, who have spent their lives in vain attempts to fix new for this year, and again for that day, the exact time when the Son of Man should appear. The wisest Christians have acted otherwise. It is told of a foreign bishop, eminent for his sanctity and for the wise guidance which he could give in the spiritual life, that he was once engaged in playing a game of bowls. One of the bystanders was of a critical disposition, and was scandalised at the frivolity of the bishop’s occupation, so much beneath the dignity, as it was thought, of his character. "If Christ was to appear the next moment, what would you do?" he asked the bishop. "I would make the next stroke the best possible one," was the wise man’s reply. And the reply involved the true principle which the Lord Himself by His refusal to gratify the Apostles’ curiosity desired to impress on His people. The uncertainty of the time of Christ’s coming, combined with the certainty of the event itself, should stir us up to intensity of purpose, to earnestness of life, to a hallowed enthusiasm to do thoroughly every lawful deed, to think thoroughly every lawful thought, conscious that in so doing we are fulfilling, the will and work of the great Judge Himself. Blessed indeed shall be those servants whom the Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. III. Christ, after He had reproved the spirit of vain curiosity which strikes at the root of all practical effort, then indicates the source of their strength and the sphere of its activity. "Ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you." They were wanting then, as yet, in power, and the Holy Ghost was to supply the want. Intellect, talent, eloquence, wit, all these things are God’s gifts, but they are not the source of spiritual power. A man may possess them one and all, and yet be lacking in that spiritual power which came upon the Apostles through the descent of the Spirit. And the sphere of their appointed activity is designated for them. Just as in the earliest days Of Christ’s public ministry He spake words indicative of the universal spirit of the gospel, and prophesied of a time when men from the east and west should come and sit down in the kingdom of God, while the children of the kingdom should be cast out, so, too, one of His few recorded resurrection sayings now indicates the same: "Ye shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Jerusalem, Judaea, - the Apostles were to begin their great practical life of witnessing at home, but they were not to stay there. Samaria was next to have its opportunity, and so we shall find it to have been the case; and then, working from home as centre, the uttermost parts of the earth, a distant Spain from Paul, and a distant India from Thomas, and a barbarous Scythia from Andrew, and a frigid, ocean-girt Britain from a Joseph of Arimathaea, were to learn tidings of the new life in Christ.

8. HAWKER, "To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many
infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: (4) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (5) For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

It is well worthy our highest attention, that though we are told, the Lord Jesus remained forty days on earth, after his resurrection, yet he did not mingle with his disciples as before, in their daily intercourse, He was seen of them for forty days together: that is, from the first to the last. The morning of his resurrection was the first. And this, which was by appointment, was the last, being the fortieth day from his resurrection included. But though he manifested himself to them at times, both when they looked for him, and when they did not; yet the word of God gives no authority to conclude, that he was always with them: but rather on the contrary. He gave infallible proofs of his being alive; and of his being the same identical person as before his death; by eating and drinking with them, after he arose from the dead, Luk_24:39-43. And beside the relation, which is given by the Evangelists, of the many separate and distinct appearances, which the Lord made of himself, upon various occasions, after his resurrection, Paul mentions, of five hundred brethren at one time, who saw him. 1Co_15:6. So that, as this scripture asserts, he shewed himself to them alive, after his passion by many infallible proofs: and not the shadow of a doubt could remain, of the reality of the fact itself. Yet still it is worthy our observation, that Jesus did not mingle with them as heretofore. The same unbounded love, the Lord shewed them; and every act testified, that there was no change in his nature, nor in his regard to them: but there was a difference in his state. And might not this be intended, (I simply ask the question, and not decide,) to intimate to them, that when his people are quickened, from the death of sin, an holy solemnity should follow, suited to a risen state! What more immediate subjects those were, which the Lord discoursed upon, between the interval of his resurrection and ascension, is not said, further, than that they pertained to the kingdom of God. But as the coming of God the Holy Ghost was at hand, and his office would be, to lead them into all truth, it is reasonable to conclude, that Jesus connected what he had told them before, concerning the Person, work, and grace of the Holy Ghost, with speaking of him now. And, as the whole efficient part of the Covenant, was to be, in a more eminent manner, distinguished by his ministry, no doubt, this formed a principal subject, in the Lord’s discourses. I beg the Reader, before he goes further, to observe the vast line of distinction, which the Lord Jesus draws, between the water baptism of John , and the spiritual baptism of God the Holy Ghost. Without entering into all the particulars included in this out-pouring of the Spirit, expressed under the term baptism: (indeed who is competent to describe, either the nature, or extent of the Lord the Spirit’s operations:) we may justly conclude, that it was intended more or less, to imply, all the special offices of the Holy Ghost. And perhaps, in a yet more personal manner, the ordination of the Apostles to their ministry. But yet, not to the exclusion of the whole Church, in all other matters, of which the Apostles were the representatives. The Holy Ghost is the Founder and Architect of the Church, His it is, to arrange and order, to preside over, and govern, the whole building. And as He has founded the Church on Christ, so is it his to raise up the several departments from Christ, and form all the stones of the temple as living stones in Christ; for an habitation of God through the Spirit, 1Pe_2:5; Eph_2:22. Indeed from the beginning of the revelation of God, this had been his special work, according to the ancient settlements of the Covenant. The Holy Ghost from everlasting, was the Almighty minister, in the Church, And every ordinance and means of grace, were as much his appointment under the Old Testament, as under the New. This we learn from a single verse, most plainly and decidedly, (if there were no other,) in the Epistle to the Hebrews. For when Paul had related the particulars of furniture in the Jewish tabernacle, and the uses of the whole; he refers the appointment and design, unto the sovereign will and pleasure of God the Spirit: the Holy

Ghost this signifying, said Paul. Hereby ascribing to Him personal being and agency, sovereignty and almighty power; and declaring his own eternal Godhead by expressly saying, that the priests, when daily performing those acts of worship, were accomplishing the service of God. I pray the Reader to read the whole passage, Heb_9:18. We shall have, in some measure, a right apprehension of faith, in relation to the Person, Godhead, and Office-characters, of God the Holy Ghost, in these Covenant transactions, by having these things in view; if so be, the Lord himself, (of whom we presume to speak,) condescends to enlighten our understanding. As God the Holy Ghost founded the Church, so it was his office, and he did it, to anoint, both the Head of the Church, and all the members of his mystical body, Joh_3:34; Eph_4:7; Psa_45:7. His office it hath been from the beginning, to give to the Church all her Prophets. For the Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, 2Pe_1:21. His it was, to ordain all the ministers, as well under the Old Testament as the New. The Prophet Isa 1-66 with Joh_12:39-41 and Act_28:25-27. And as the ordination to the ministry was the office of God the Holy Ghost, before the coming of Christ, under the Old Testament; so we find him ordaining his ministers, and to his service, under the New. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said; Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work thereunto I have called them, Act_13:2. See the Commentary there. In short, it is the Lord the Spirit’s work, to send out and to restrain, Act_13:4 with Act_16:6, to teach in the word, and by the word, 1Co_2:16 with 2Th_1:5, to accompany the word from heaven: 1Pe_1:11-12, and to light upon the hearts of the people, while the word is preaching upon earth, Act_10:44. And in every instance of success Paul saith it ariseth not from the inticing words of man’s wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, 1Co_2:4.

9. RAY STEDMA , "The Greek word for "proof" here is a word that includes the idea of being convincing -- infallible, as the King James Version has it. Dr. Luke gives us three categories of these proofs. He does not give us the detail which you will find in other places, but he lists the three categories of proof that Jesus Christ was alive. As you well know, from the very earliest centuries and throughout the twenty centuries of Christendom, we have accounts of the enemies of Christianity who tell us that the appearances of Jesus were really nothing but hallucinations, they occurred only in the imaginations of these disciples, and that he really was not there. But, says Luke, let me show you the three categories of proof that he was risen: One, he appeared to them during forty days. The word here is one from which we get our word, ophthalmia, i.e., the word for the eye, or literally, the eyeball. If we were to use the modern vernacular, what Dr. Luke says is, these disciples "eyeballed" him for forty days. They saw him again and again, not merely once, but many times during this period. Each time he looked exactly the same. It is hard for an hallucination to accomplish that. Then, second, he spoke to them: "speaking of the kingdom of God." Why, says Luke, we even remember his subject matter. He talked about the kingdom of God. We saw him and heard him, two objective sensual experiences that confirmed to us that this was no fantasy, no hallucination.

Finally, third, the ultimate proof was, "he ate with us." The word, "staying" has a marginal reference which gives eating as the actual Greek word used. "He ate with us," says Luke, and those who were there saw him eat. They saw the food disappear. It is surely terribly hard to get an hallucination to eat! Luke says, "This is the proof; he ate with us, so we know he is alive." This marvelous fact of the resurrection of Jesus is the bedrock upon which all Christian faith ultimately rests. Anytime you are troubled with doubts, or are under attack for your faith, come right back to this fundamental fact. The Apostle Paul, remember, holds it up for us and says, in effect, to the enemies of Christianity, "Look, if you want to destroy our faith then disprove this fact. It all rests on this. If Christ be not risen, then our faith is in vain," (1 Corinthians 15:17 KJV). Throughout the centuries many attempts have been made to disprove the resurrection of Jesus, but none has ever been successful. In fact, oftentimes the ones attempting this have themselves becomes convinced by the evidence and have become Christians. It is fact umber 1 upon which the strategy of incarnation rests. The second historic fact is called in this passage, "the promise of the Father." 10. CALVI , " Unto whom, etc He addeth this, that he might make the resurrection to be believed, as a thing most necessary to be known, and without the which the whole gospel falleth fiat to the ground, neither remaineth there any more faith. And that I may omit to speak of other discommodities that come by being ignorant of the resurrection of Christ, the gospel loseth his whole authority, unless we know and be also fully persuaded that Christ being alive, speaketh unto us from the heavens. Whereunto Luke hath chiefest respect in this place. Therefore, that the truth hereof might not be called in question, he saith that it was proved by many signs and tokens. Those which Erasmus, following an old interpreter, doth call arguments, I have translated proofs. For Aristotle doth call that τεκµηριον, in the first book of his Rhetorics, which is necessary in signs. This is, therefore, that which I said before, that Christ did make manifest his resurrection unto his apostles by evident tokens, which did serve instead of necessary proofs, lest they should doubt of the same. Furthermore, he doth not reckon up those tokens and signs, saving only that he saith, that Christ did appear unto them about the space of a month and one-half oftentimes. If he had but once appeared unto them, it might have been somewhat suspicious, but in showing himself so often unto them, he dissolveth all doubts which might arise in their minds, and by this means, also, he putteth away the reproach of the ignorance which he said was in the apostles, lest it discredit their preaching. He intreateth of the kingdom of God He telleth us again that the apostles themselves were well taught 19 before such time as they took upon them to teach others; therefore, whatsoever things they uttered and brought to light, either by word or by writing, touching the kingdom of God, they are those speeches which Christ himself uttered. And hereby doth he briefly set down the end of the doctrine of the gospel; namely, that God may reign in us. Regeneration is the beginning of this kingdom, and the end thereof is blessed immortality; the middle proceedings are in a more ample going forward and increase of regeneration. But that this thing may appear

more evidently, we must first note, that we are born, and that we live aliens and strangers from the kingdom of God, until such time as God doth fashion us again unto a new life. Therefore, we may properly set the world, the flesh, and whatsoever is in man’s nature against the kingdom of God, as contrary to it. For the natural man is wholly occupied about the things of this world, and he seeketh felicity here; 20 in the mean season, we are as it were banished from God, and he likewise from us; but Christ, by the preaching of the gospel, doth lift us up unto the meditation of the life to come. And to the end he may the better bring this to pass, he reformeth all our earthly affections, and so having striped us out of the vices of our flesh, he separateth us from the world. And, like as eternal death is prepared for all those which live after the flesh, so in as much as the inward man is renewed in us, that we may go forward in the spiritual life, we draw nearer unto the perfection of the kingdom of God; which is the society of the glory of God. Therefore, God will reign in and amongst us now, that he may at length make us partakers of his kingdom. Hereby we gather that Christ did principally intreat of the corruption of mankind; of the tyranny of sin, whose bond-slaves we are; of the curse and guiltiness of eternal death, whereunto we all are subject, and also of the means to obtain salvation; of the remission of sins; of the denying of the flesh; of spiritual righteousness; of hope of eternal life, and of like such things. And if we will be rightly instructed in Christianity, we must apply our studies to these things. 11. WORDSWORTH, "The period of " Forty Days " seems to be marked in Holy Scripture as significant of probation before some great Event. Examples may be seen in the History of the P'lood, Gen. vii. 4. (See Aug. Serm. de Ascons. 264.) Moses in the Mount before the giving of the Law, Exod. xxiv. 18; xxxiv. 28. Deut. ix. 9; X. 10 (see Blunt, Lectures, ]>. 12) ; the time of the spies in searching the Land, umb. xiii. 25 ; xiv. 34 ; the time of Elias before coming to Horeb, I Kings xix. 8 ; the time of probation for ineveh, Jonah iii. 4. Compare the same period of Forty Days before our Lord's Presentation in the Temple (Luke ii. 22), and of His Fasting before He entered on His Ministry (Matt. iv. 2, where see note). As He was forty days after His Birth before He was presented in the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem, and again forty days after His Baptism, before He entered on His Ministry, so

now He waits forty days after Uia Birth from the Grave, before He presents Himself in the Temple of the heavenly Jerusalem, and enters on His Priestly Ministry in the true Holy of Holies, where He " ever liyeth to make intercession for us." Heb. vii. 20. Tlie Forty Days, a term of Probation, have also a preparatory reference to the Pentecost or Fiftieth, the Day of Jubilee. Forty years after this (a year for a day. umb. xiv. 34) Jerusalem was destroyed, because the people would not believe in Christ, who had so mightily declared Himself the Son of God by His Resurrection, which had been so plainly proved by so many proofs for Forty Days. {Ligfitfoot.) 12. MACLARE , “The forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension have distinctly marked characteristics. They are unlike to the period before them in many respects, but completely similar in others; they have a preparatory character throughout; they all bear on the future work of the disciples, and hearten them for the time when they should be left alone.
The words of the text give us their leading features. They bring outI. Their evidential value, as confirming the fact of the Resurrection. ‘He showed Himself alive after His passion by . . . proofs.’ By sight, repeated, to individuals, to companies, to Mary in her solitary sadness, to Peter the penitent, to the two on the road to Emmaus. At all hours: in the evening when the doors were shut; in the morning; in grey twilight; in daytime on the road. At many places-in houses, out of doors. The signs of true corporeity-the sight, the eating. The signs of bodily identity,-’Reach hither thy hand.’ ‘He showed them His hands and His side.’ Was this the glorified body? The affirmative answer is usually rested on the facts that He was not known by Mary or the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and that He came into the upper room when the doors were shut. But the force of these facts is broken by remembering that Mary saw nothing about Him unlike other men, but supposed Him to be the gardener-which puts the idea of a glorified body out of the question, and leaves us to suppose that she was full of weeping indifference to any one. Then as to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Luke carefully tells us that the reason why they did not know Him was in them and not in Him-that it was ‘because their eyes were holden,’ not because His body was changed. And as to His coming when the doors were shut, why should not that be like the other miracles, when ‘He conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in the place,’ and when He

walked on the waters? There cannot then be anything decidedly built on these facts, and the considerations on the other side are very strong. Surely the whole drift of the narrative goes in the direction of representing Christ’s ‘glory’ as beginning with His Ascension, and consequently the ‘body of His glory’ as being then assumed. Further, the argument of 1Co_15:1-58 goes on the assumption that ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,’ that is, that the material corporeity is incongruous with, and incapable of entrance into, the conditions of that future life, and, by parity of reasoning, that the spiritual body, which is to be conformed to the body of Christ’s glory, is incongruous with, and incapable of entrance into, the conditions of this earthly life. As is the environment, so must be the ‘body’ that is at home in it. Further, the facts of our Lord’s eating and drinking after His Resurrection are not easily reconcilable with the contention that He was then invested with the glorified body. We must, then, think of transfiguration, rather than of resurrection only, as the way by which He passed into the heavens. He ‘slept’ but woke, and, as He ascended, was ‘changed.’ II. The renewal of the old bond by the tokens of His unchanged disposition. Recall the many beautiful links with the past: the message to Peter; that to Mary; ‘Tell My brethren,’ ‘He was known in breaking of bread,’ ‘Peace be with you!’ (repetition from Joh_17:1-26), the miraculous draught of fishes, and the meal and conversation afterwards, recalling the miracle at the beginning of the closer association of the four Apostles of the first rank with their Lord. The forty days revealed the old heart, the old tenderness. He remembers all the past. He sends a message to the penitent; He renews to the faithful the former gift of ‘peace.’ How precious all this is as a revelation of the impotence of death in regard to Him and us! It assures us of the perpetuity of His love. He showed Himself after His passion as the same old Self, the same old tender Lover. His appearances then prepare us for the last vision of Him in the Apocalypse, in which we see His perpetual humanity, His perpetual tenderness, and hear Him saying: ‘I am . . . the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore.’ These forty days assure us of the narrow limits of the power of death. Love lives through death, memory lives through it. Christ has lived through it and comes up from the grave, serene and tender, with unruffled peace, with all the old tones of tenderness in the voice that said ‘Mary!’ So may we be sure that through death and after it we shall live and be ourselves. We, too, shall show ourselves alive after we have experienced the superficial change of death. III. The change in Christ’s relations to the disciples and to the world. ‘Appearing unto them by the space of forty days.’ The words mark a contrast to Christ’s former constant intercourse with the disciples. This is occasional; He appears at intervals during the forty days. He comes amongst them and disappears. He is seen again in the morning light by the lake-side and goes away. He tells them to come and meet Him in Galilee. That intermittent presence prepared the disciples for His departure. It was painful and educative. It carried out His own word, ‘And now I am no more in the world.’ We observe in the disciples traces of a deeper awe. They say little. ‘Master!’ ‘My Lord and my God!’ ‘None durst ask Him, Who art Thou?’ Even Peter ventures only on ‘Lord, Thou knowest all things,’ and on one flash of the old familiarity: ‘What shall this man do?’

John, who recalls very touchingly, in that appendix to his Gospel, the blessed time when he leaned on Jesus’ breast at supper, now only humbly follows, while the others sit still and awed, by that strange fire on the banks of the lonely lake. A clearer vision of the Lord on their parts, a deeper sense of who He is, make them assume more of the attitude of worshippers, though not less that of friends. And He can no more dwell with them, and go in and out among them. As for the world-’It seeth Me no more, but ye see Me.’ He was ‘seen of them,’ not of others. There is no more appeal to the people, no more teaching, no more standing in the Temple. Why is this? Is it not the commentary on His own word on the Cross, ‘It is finished!’ marking most distinctly that His work on earth was ended when He died, and so confirming that conception of His earthly mission which sees its culmination and centre of power in the Cross? IV. Instruction and prophecy for the future. The preparation of the disciples for their future work and condition was a chief purpose of the forty days. Jesus spoke ‘of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.’ He also ‘gave commandments to the Apostles.’ Note how much there is, in His conversations with them1. Of opening to them the Scriptures. ‘Christ must needs suffer,’ etc. 2. Of lessons for their future, thus fitting them for their task. 3. Mark how this transitional period taught them that His going away was not to be sorrow and loss, but joy and gain, ‘Touch Me not, for I have not yet ascended.’ Our present relation to the ascended Lord is as much an advance on that of the disciples to the risen Lord, as that was on their relation to Him during His earthly life. They had more real communion with Him when, with opened hearts, they heard Him interpret the Scriptures concerning Himself, and fell at His feet crying ‘My Lord and my God!’ though they saw Him but for short seasons and at intervals, than when day by day they were with Him and knew Him not. As they grew in love and ripened in knowledge, they knew Him better and better. For us, too, these forty days are full of blessed lessons, teaching us that real communion with Jesus is attained by faith in Him, and that He is still working in and for us, and is still present with us. The joy with which the disciples saw Him ascend should live on in us as we think of Him enthroned. The hope that the angels’ message lit up in their hearts should burn in ours. The benediction which the Risen Lord uttered on those who have not seen and yet have believed falls in double measure on those who, though now they see Him not, yet believing rejoice in Jesus with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

1. Barnes, “And being assembled together - Margin, “or, eating together.” This sense is given to this place in the Latin Vulgate, the Ethiopic, and the Syriac versions. But the Greek word has not properly this signification. It has the meaning of “congregating, or assembling.” It should have been, however, translated in the active sense, “and having assembled them together.” The apostles were scattered after his death. But this passage denotes that he had assembled them together by his authority, for the purpose of giving them a charge respecting their conduct when he should have left them. When this occurred does not appear from the narrative; but it is probable that it was not long before his ascension; and it is clear that the place where they were assembled was Jerusalem. But wait for the promise of the Father - For the fulfillment of the promise respecting the descent of the Holy Spirit made by the Father. Which ye have heard of me - Which I have made to you. See Joh_14:16, Joh_14:26; Joh_15:26; Joh_16:7-13.

2. Clarke, “And, being assembled together - Instead of συναλιζοµενος, being
assembled together, several good MSS. and versions read συναυλιζοµενος, living or eating together, which refers the conversation reported here to some particular time, when he sat at meat, with his disciples. See Mar_16:14 : Luk_24:41-44. But probably the common reading is to be preferred; and the meeting on a mountain of Galilee is what is here meant. The promise of the Father - The Holy Spirit, which indeed was the grand promise of the New Testament, as Jesus Christ was of the Old. And as Christ was the grand promise of the Old Testament, during the whole continuance of the old covenant; so is the Holy Ghost, during the whole continuance of the new. As every pious soul that believed in the coming Messiah, through the medium of the sacrifices offered up under the law, was made a partaker of the merit of his death, so every pious soul that believes in Christ crucified is made a partaker of the Holy Spirit. Thus, as the benefit of the death of Christ extended from the foundation of the world till his coming in the flesh, as well as after, so the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has been, and will be continued through the whole lapse of time, till his coming again to judge the world. It is by this Spirit that sin is made known, and by it the blood of the covenant is applied; and indeed, without this, the want of salvation cannot be discovered, nor the value of the blood of the covenant duly estimated. How properly do we still pray, and how necessary is the prayer, “Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.” Communion Service. Ye have heard of me - In his particular conversations with his disciples, such as those related Joh_14:16-26 (note); Joh_15:26 (note); Joh_16:7-15 (note); to which passages, and the notes on them the reader is requested to refer: but it is likely that our Lord alludes more particularly to the conversation he had with them on one of the mountains of Galilee.

3. Gill, “And being assembled together with them,.... At their last meeting at
Bethany, or Mount Olivet, which was by appointment: some render the words, as the Vulgate Latin, "and eating with them"; which was one of the proofs he gave of his being alive; and so the Syriac version renders it, "and when he had ate bread with them", and the Ethiopic version, "and dining with them", which he might do more than once; see Joh_21:12 this was the last time, when he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem; which does not necessarily infer, that they were then at Jerusalem; for they might be, and they seem rather to be at Bethany, or on the Mount of Olives, from whence they afterwards returned to Jerusalem; and from thence they had orders not to depart, where the blood of Christ had been shed, and where were his greatest enemies, and where the disciples might have no inclination to have gone, and much less to abide, but so it must be, partly for the glorifying of Christ by the effusion of his Spirit on the apostles in the place where he had suffered the most reproach; and partly because the Gospel, the word of the Lord, was to go out of this place, according to the prophecy in Isa_2:3 as also because a Gospel church was to be fixed there, and a very large number of souls to be converted, and added to it: wherefore they were bid to go thither, and not stir from thence, but wait for the promise of the Father; that is, the pouring forth of the Spirit, which God the Father of Christ; and of his people, had promised should be in the last days, Joe_2:28 and which Christ had promised his disciples from the Father, Joh_14:16. which, saith he, ye have heard of me; or "by", or "out of my mouth", as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, and Beza's most ancient copy read; referring to the above passages, or to what follows: and which he the rather mentions, to assure them of its accomplishment, since it was both a promise of the Father, all whose promises are yea and amen; and he had also told them of it, neither of whose words could possibly fall to the ground.

4. Henry, “A particular assurance given them that they should now shortly receive the Holy Ghost, with orders given them to expect it (Act_1:4, Act_1:5), he being assembled together with them, probably in the interview at the mountain in Galilee which he had appointed before his death; for there is mention of their coming together again (Act_ 1:6), to attend his ascension. Though he had now ordered them to Galilee, yet they must not think to continue there; no, they must return to Jerusalem, and not depart thence. Observe, 1. The command he gives them to wait. This was to raise their expectations of something great; and something very great they had reason to expect from their exalted Redeemer. (1.) They must wait till the time appointed, which is now not many days hence. Those that by faith hope promised mercies will come must with patience wait till they do come, according to the time, the set time. And when the time draws nigh, as now it did, we must, as Daniel, look earnestly for it, Dan_9:3. (2.) They must wait in the place appointed, in Jerusalem, for there the Spirit must be first poured out, because Christ was to be as king upon the holy hill of Zion; and because the word of the Lord must go forth from Jerusalem; this must be the mother-church. There Christ was put to shame, and therefore there he will have this honour done him, and this favour is done to Jerusalem to teach us to forgive our enemies and persecutors. The apostles were more exposed to danger at Jerusalem than they would have been in Galilee; but we may cheerfully trust God with our safety, when we keep in the way of our duty. The apostles

were now to put on a public character, and therefore must venture in a public station. Jerusalem was the fittest candlestick for those lights to be set up in. 2. The assurance he gives them that they shall not wait in vain. (1.) The blessing designed them shall come, and they shall find it was worth waiting for; You shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost; that is, [1.] “The Holy Ghost shall be poured out upon you more plentifully than ever.” They had already been breathed upon with the Holy Ghost (Joh_20:22), and they had found the benefit of it; but now they shall have larger measures of his gifts, graces, and comforts, and be baptized with them, in which there seems to be an allusion to those Old Testament promises of the pouring out of the Spirit, Joe_2:28; Isa_44:3; Isa_32:15. [2.] “You shall be cleansed and purified by the Holy Ghost,” as the priests were baptized and washed with water, when they were consecrated to the sacred function: “They had the sign; you shall have the thing signified. You shall be sanctified by the truth, as the Spirit shall lead you more and more into it, and have your consciences purged by the witness of the Spirit, that you may serve the living God in the apostleship.” [3.] “You shall hereby be more effectually than ever engaged to your Master, and to his guidance, as Israel was baptized unto Moses in the cloud, and in the sea; you shall be tied so fast to Christ that you shall never, for fear of any sufferings, forsake him again, as once you did.” (2.) Now this gift of the Holy Ghost he speaks of, [1.] As the promise of the Father, which they had heard of him, and might therefore depend upon. First, The Spirit was given by promise, and it was at this time the great promise, as that of the Messiah was before (Luk_1:72), and that of eternal life is now, 1Jo_2:25. Temporal good things are given by Providence, but the Spirit and spiritual blessings are given by promise, Gal_3:18. The Spirit of God is not given as the spirit of men is given us, and formed within us, by a course of nature (Zec_12:1), but by the word of God. 1. That the gift may be the more valuable, Christ thought the promise of the Spirit a legacy worth leaving to his church. 2. That it may be the more sure, and that the heirs of promise may be confident of the immutability of God's counsel herein. 3. That it may be of grace, peculiar grace, and may be received by faith, laying hold on the promise, and depending upon it. As Christ, so the Spirit, is received by faith. Secondly, It was the promise of the Father, 1. Of Christ's Father. Christ, as Mediator, had an eye to God as his Father, fathering his design, and owning it all along. 2. Of our Father, who, if he give us the adoption of sons, will certainly give us the Spirit of adoption, Gal_4:5, Gal_4:6. He will give the Spirit, as the Father of lights, as the Father of spirits, and as the Father of mercies; it is the promise of the Father. Thirdly, This promise of the Father they had heard from Christ many a time, especially in the farewell sermon he preached to them a little before he died, wherein he assured them, again and again, that the Comforter should come. This confirms the promise of God, and encourages us to depend upon it, that we have heard it from Jesus Christ; for in him all the promises of God are yea, and amen. “You have heard it from me; and I will make it good.”

5. Jamison, “should not depart from Jerusalem — because the Spirit was to glorify the existing economy, by descending on the disciples at its metropolitan seat, and at the next of its great festivals after the ascension of the Church’s Head; in order that “out of Zion might go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa_2:3; and compare Luk_24:49). 6. RWP, “Being assembled together with them (sunalizomenos). Present

passive participle from sunalizō, an old verb in Herodotus, Xenophon, etc., from sun, with, and halizō, from halēs, crowded. The margin of both the Authorized and the Revised Versions has “eating with them” as if from sun and hals (salt). Salt was the mark of hospitality. There is the verb halisthēte en autōi used by Ignatius Ad Magnes. X, “Be ye salted in him.” But it is more than doubtful if that is the idea here though the Vulgate does have convescens illis “eating with them,” as if that was the common habit of Jesus during the forty days (Wendt, Feine, etc.). Jesus did on occasion eat with the disciples (Luk_24:41-43; Mar_16:14). To wait for the promise of the Father (perimenein tēn epaggelian tou patros). Note present active infinitive, to keep on waiting for (around, peri). In the Great Commission on the mountain in Galilee this item was not given (Mat_28:16-20). It is the subjective genitive, the promise given by the Father (note this Johannine use of the word), that is the Holy Spirit (“the promise of the Holy Spirit,” objective genitive). Which ye heard from me (hēn ēkousate mou). Change from indirect discourse (command), infinitives chōrizesthai and perimenein after parēggeilen to direct discourse without any ephē (said he) as the English (Italics). Luke often does this (oratior ariata). Note also the ablative case of mou (from me). Luke continues in Act_1:5with the direct discourse giving the words of Jesus.

7. CALVI , "Gathering them together, he commanded, etc They had before done the duty of Apostles; but that lasted but a while; and, secondly, so far forth that they might with their preaching awake the Jews to hear their Master. And so that commandment to teach, which Christ had given them, (Matthew 10:7,) whilst he lived with them upon earth, was, as it were, a certain entrance into their apostleship which was to come, for which they were not yet ripe. Therefore, their ordinary function was not laid upon them, until such time as Christ was risen again; but they stirred up their nation (as I have said) like criers, that they might give ear to Christ. And then at length, after the resurrection, they were made Apostles, to publish abroad throughout the whole world that doctrine which was committed to them. And whereas after they were made Apostles, Christ commandeth them as yet to abstain from their office, that is done not without just cause; yea, many causes may be alleged why it should be so. That filthy forsaking of their Master was yet fresh; many notes and tokens of unbelief were yet fresh. Whereas, they had been so thoroughly taught, and had so suddenly forgotten all, they showed a manifest token of their great dullness of wit. either were they free from sluggishness, which could not otherwise fitly be purged, than by deferring the promised grace, that he might the more sharpen their desire. But this cause is chiefly to be noted, that the Lord did appoint a certain time for the sending of the Spirit, that the miracle might be the more apparent. Again, he suffered them to rest a while, that he might the better set forth the greatness of that business which he was about to commit unto them. And thereby is the truth of the gospel confirmed, because the Apostles were forbidden to address themselves to preach the same, until they should be well prepared in

succession of time. And they were commanded to stay together, because they should all have one spirit given them. If they had been dispersed, the unity should not have been so well known. Though they were scattered abroad afterwards in divers places, yet because they brought that which they had from one and the same fountain, it was all one, as if they always had had all one mouth. Furthermore, it was expedient that they should begin to preach the gospel at Jerusalem, that the prophecy might be fulfilled, “There shall a law go out of Zion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem,” (Isaiah 2:3.) Although the participle συναλιζοµενος, may be diversely translated, yet Erasmus his translation did please me best, because the signification of gathering together will agree better with the text, [context.] They should wait for the promise It was meet that these should be accustomed to obey first, who should shortly after lay Christ’s yoke upon the neck of the world. And surely they have taught us by their example, that we must work and rest at the Lord’s pleasure alone. For if, during our life, we go on warfare under his banner and conduct, surely he ought to have no less authority over us than any earthly captain hath in his army. Therefore, as warlike discipline requireth this, that no man wage unless he be commanded by the captain, so it is not lawful for us either to go out, or to attempt any thing, until the Lord give the watchword; and so soon as he bloweth the retreat, we must stay, [halt.] Moreover, we are taught that we are made partakers of the gifts of God through hope. But we must mark the nature of hope as it is described in this place. For that is not hope which every man feigneth to himself unadvisedly, but that which is grounded on the promise of God. Therefore Christ cloth not suffer his apostles to look for whatsoever they will, but he addeth expressly the promise of the Father. Furthermore, he maketh himself a witness thereof; because we ought to be so sure and certain, that although all the engines of hell gainstand us, yet this may remain surely fixed in our minds, that we have believed God. I know, saith Paul, whom I have believed, (2 Timothy 1:12.) And here he putteth them in mind of those things which are written in John 14:15, 16, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may continue with you; I say the Spirit of truth,” etc. Again, “I have spoken these things unto you while I am with you.” “And the Spirit, whom my Father shall send in my name, shall teach you all things,” (John 14:25, 26,) etc. And again, “When the Spirit of truth shall come, whom I will send from my Father, he shall bear witness of me,” (John 15:26.) And again, “If I shall go hence, I will send you the Comforter, who shall reprove the world,” (John 16:7.)

And he had said long before, “He which believeth in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,” (John 7:38.) 8. VWS, “Being assembled together (συναλιζόµενος συναλιζόµενος)
From σύν, together, and ᅋλής, thronged or crowded. Both the A. V. and Rev. give eating together in margin, following the derivation from σύν, together, and ᅏλς, salt: eating salt together, and hence generally of association at table. Commanded (παρήγγειλεν παρήγγειλεν) Originally to pass on or transmit; hence, as a military term, of passing a watchword or command; and so generally to command. To wait for (περιµένειν περιµένειν) Only here in New Testament. The promise (ᅚπαγγελίαν ᅚπαγγελίαν) Signifying a free promise, given without solicitation. This is the invariable sense of the word throughout the New Testament, and this and its kindred and compound words are the only words for promise in the New Testament. ᆙπισχνέοµαι, meaning to promise in response to a request, does not occur; and ᆇµολογέω, Mat_14:7, of Herod promising Salome, really means to acknowledge his obligation for her lascivious performance. See note there. Not many days hence (οᆒ µετᆭ πολλᆭς πολλᆭς ταύτας ταύτας ᅧµέρας ᅧµέρας) Lit., not after many of these days. Not after many, but after a few.

5For John baptized with[a ] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

1. Barnes, “For John truly baptized ... - These are the words of Jesus to his apostles, and he evidently has reference to what was said of John’s baptism compared

with his own in Mat_3:11; Joh_1:33. In those verses John is represented as baptizing with water, but the Messiah who was to come, as baptizing with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This promise was now about to be fulfilled in a remarkable manner. See Acts 2. Not many days hence - This was probably spoken not long before his ascension, and of course not many days before the day of Pentecost.

2. Clarke, “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence This must refer to some conversation that is not distinctly related by the evangelists; as these identical words do not occur in any of the preceding histories. The Codex Bezae reads this passage thus: but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, which ye shall receive not many days hence. John baptized with water, which was a sign of penitence, in reference to the remission of sin; but Christ baptizes with the Holy Ghost, for the destruction of sin, the illumination of the mind, and the consolation of the heart. John’s baptism was in reference to the spiritual kingdom; but Christ’s baptism established and maintained that kingdom. From this passage we may also learn that baptism does not always mean being plunged or immersed in water; for as this promise most evidently refers to the communication of the Holy Spirit on the following pentecost, and then he sat upon each as a cloven tongue of fire, this certainly has more affinity to sprinkling than to plunging. However, the mode of administering the sign is of very little consequence; and which is the best mode is exceedingly dubious: the stress should be laid on receiving the thing signified - the Holy Ghost, to illuminate, regenerate, refine, and purify the heart. With this, sprinkling or immersion are equally efficient: without this, both are worth nothing.

3. Gill, “For John truly baptized with water,.... Or "in water", as he himself says,
Mat_3:11 John's baptism was water baptism, an immersion of persons in water: he was the first administrator of it, and therefore is here mentioned by name; and his, and the baptism of the Spirit, are opposed; for there were others, as the disciples of Christ, that baptized in water as well as John: and these words are not to be understood of the words of the Lord, by the mouth of John, which the disciples heard, for they were not then called when John spoke the words in Mat_3:11 nor indeed are they the same with these; but these are the words of Christ himself, and which the apostles heard from his own mouth, as is clear from Act_11:16 though they are not recorded by any of the evangelists; and these are not the only words which Luke repeats, that the evangelists are silent about; see Act_20:35. but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost; that is, by himself; for it is Christ's prerogative to baptize with the Spirit, as John foretold of him, and it designs such an extraordinary and plentiful donation of the gifts of the Spirit, as may be expressed by a baptism; in which the apostles, on the day of "Pentecost", were, as it were, to be immersed, and with them covered; as Cyril of Jerusalem (h) observes, "as he, ο ενδυνων εν τοις υδασι, "who is plunged in water, and baptized", is encompassed by the water on every side, so are they that are wholly baptized by the Spirit. Not many days hence; within ten days, for this was on the fortieth day from his death,

which was at the passover, these words were said; and on the fiftieth day from thence was the feast of Pentecost, when this had its fulfilment,

4. Henry, “As the prediction of John Baptist; for so far back Christ here directs them to look (Act_1:5): “You have not only heard it from me, but you had it from John; when he turned you over to me, he said (Mat_3:11), I indeed baptize you with water, but he that comes after me shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” It is a great honour that Christ now does to John, not only to quote his words, but to make this great gift of the Spirit, now at hand, to be the accomplishment of them. Thus he confirmeth the word of his servants, his messengers, Isa_44:26. But Christ can do more than any of his ministers. It is an honour to them to be employed in dispensing the means of grace, but it his prerogative to give the Spirit of grace. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, shall teach you by his Spirit, and give his Spirit to make intercession in you, which is more than the best ministers preaching with us. (3.) Now this gift of the Holy Ghost thus promised, thus prophesied of, thus waited for, is that which we find the apostles received in the next chapter, for in that this promise had its full accomplishment; this was it that should come, and we look for no other; for it is here promised to be given not many days hence. He does not tell them how many, because they must keep every day in a frame fit to receive it. Other scriptures speak of the gift of the Holy Ghost to ordinary believers; this speaks of that particular power which, by the Holy Ghost, the first preachers of the gospel, and planters of the church, were endued with, enabling them infallibly to relate to that age, and record to posterity, the doctrine of Christ, and the proofs of it; so that by virtue of this promise, and the performance of it, we receive the New Testament as of divine inspiration, and venture our souls upon it.

5. Jamison, “ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence — ten days hence, as appears from Lev_23:15, Lev_23:16; but it was expressed thus indefinitely to exercise their faith.

6. RWP, “Baptized with water (ebaptisen hudati) and with the Holy Ghost (en
pneumati baptisthēsesthe hagiōi). The margin has “in the Holy Ghost” (Spirit, it should be).
The American Standard Version renders “in” both with “water” and “Holy Spirit” as do Goodspeed (American Translation) and Mrs. Montgomery (Centenary Translation). John’s own words (Mat_3:11) to which Jesus apparently refers use en (in) both with water and Spirit. There is a so-called instrumental use of en where we in English have to say “with” (Rev_13:10 en machairēi, like machairēi, Act_12:2). That is to say en with the locative presents the act as located in a certain instrument like a sword (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 589f.). But the instrumental case is more common without en (the locative and instrumental cases having the same form). So it is often a matter of indifference which idiom is used as in Joh_21:8 we have tōi ploiariōi (locative without

en). They came in (locative case without en) the boat. So in Joh_1:31 en hudati baptizōn
baptizing in water. No distinction therefore can be insisted on here between the construction hudati and en pneumati (both being in the locative case, one without, one with en). Note unusual position of the verb baptisthēsesthe (future passive indicative) between pneumati and hagiōi. This baptism of the Holy Spirit was predicted by John (Mat_3:11) as the characteristic of the Messiah’s work. Now the Messiah himself in his last message before his Ascension proclaims that in a few days the fulfilment of that prophecy will come to pass. The Codex Bezae adds here “which ye are about to receive” and “until the Pentecost” to Act_1:5. Not many days hence (ou meta pollas tautas hēmeras). A neat Greek idiom difficult to render smoothly into English: “Not after many days these.” The litotes (not many=few) is common in Luke (Luk_7:6; Luk_15:13; Act_17:27; Act_19:11; Act_20:12; Act_21:39; Act_28:14; Act_28:2). The predicate use of tautas (without article) is to be noted. “These” really means as a starting point, “from these” (Robertson, Grammar, p. 702). It was ten days hence. This idiom occurs several times in Luke (Luk_24:21; Act_24:21), as elsewhere (Joh_4:18; 2Pe_3:1). In Luk_2:12 the copula is easily supplied as it exists in Luk_1:36; Luk_2:2.

7. SBC, “I. What is the baptism of the Holy Ghost? We are told that with an invisible power the Spirit should come down and rest upon the heart, cleansing and purifying the whole man, so that it can be said, "If any man is in Christ he is a new creature." This change is mysterious and in some respects inexplicable; but we find it produces union between God and the soul. When the baptism of the Holy Ghost comes to a Church; when it comes to a mass that are brought to the knowledge of Christ; when it comes to a community, as on the day of Pentecost, it seems to represent to us a shower of blessing, and we may well be glad when we commemorate that outpouring. But is it attainable by us now? Yes, we answer, and more than ever. This dispensation is called the dispensation of the Spirit.
II. What are some of the consequences that flow out of this baptism of the Holy Spirit? (1) One of the first is joy and peace. All the epistles are written with the pen of joy. The fulfilment of Christ’s Word was theirs. (2) There will be a large accession spiritually to the Church of God. There is nothing else we want in the midst of this Christian people of England; nothing else will save the tens of thousands passing down to destruction; nothing will alter the condition of life which Christ declared to Nicodemus. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again." III. How is this attainable? We must secure it by prayer. God tells us throughout the whole of these Scriptures, where He promises the Spirit, that we can only receive it by prayer and supplication. Prayer and the consecration of our souls to the service of God— these are the conditions on which we shall receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost—"not many days hence." J. Fleming, Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 456. References: Act_1:5.—J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 197.

8. CALVIN, "Because John truly Christ repeateth this unto his apostles out of John’s own words. For some part of them had heard that at John’s mouth, which the Evangelists report, “I truly baptize you with water, but he that cometh after me shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Now Christ pronounceth that they shall well perceive that that is true indeed which he said. Furthermore, this serveth greatly to confirm the sentence next going before, for it is an argument drawn from the office of Christ. And that thus: John was sent to baptize with water, he fulfilled his function as it became the servant of God. The Son of God is sent to baptize with the Holy Ghost; it remained, therefore, that he do his duty. Neither can it be otherwise but he must do that which his Father hath commanded him to do, and for which also he came down into the earth. But it seemeth a very absurd thing to restrain that unto the visible sending of the Holy Ghost, which was spoken universally of regeneration. 21 I answer, that Christ did not then only baptize with the Holy Ghost, when as he sent him under the form of fiery tongues; for he had baptized his apostles before this; and he baptizeth all the elect thus daily. But because the sending of the Holy Ghost after so glorious a sort was a token of the hidden grace wherewith he doth daily inspire his elect, he doth fitly apply thereunto the testimony of John. And truly this was as though it had been the common baptism of the Church. For besides that the apostles did not receive the Spirit for themselves only, but for the use of all the faithful, there was also declared the universal favor of Christ towards his Church, while that he poured out thereupon the gifts of his Spirit in great abundance. Although, therefore, he doth daily baptize the elect of his Father, yet was this no let why he might not show forth this token to be remembered above all others, that the apostles might know that they were only entered by John; and that not in vain, seeing their perfection was hard at hand. And that is frivolous which some gather out of this place most commonly, 22 namely, that the baptism of John and the baptism of Christ were diverse. For here doth not he dispute in this place of baptism, but maketh only a comparison betwixt the person of John and the person of Christ. When as John did say that he did baptize with water only, he did not reason of what sort his baptism was; but what he himself was; lest he should arrogate that unto himself which was proper to Christ. As also, the ministers in these days ought not to speak otherwise of themselves; but they must acknowledge Christ to be the author of all those things which they do prefigure in the outward baptism, and leave nothing to themselves save only the outward administration. For when as these titles are attributed unto baptism, namely, that it is the laver of regeneration, (Titus 3:5,) a washing away of sins, the fellowship of death, and burying with Christ, (Romans 6:4,) and a grafting into the body of Christ, it is not declared what man, being the minister of the outward sign, doth; but rather what Christ doth, who only giveth force and efficacy unto the signs. We must always hold fast this distinction, lest, whilst we deck man too much, we take from Christ. 23 But here may a question be moved, why he doth rather name John here than any other; first, It is manifest enough that John did profess himself to be the minister of the outward sign, namely, of water, and that Christ was the author of the spiritual baptism; secondly, Because it was meet that John should decrease and Christ increase; and, thirdly, Because the apostles did so much esteem of John, (John 3:30,) it might have been that thereby the glory of Christ might have been obscured. Therefore, Christ, to the end he might reclaim them to himself, telleth them that John did only minister unto them the external baptism; notwithstanding, he confirmeth them also, lest they should doubt of the promise; for they did attribute very much unto John, and therefore were they persuaded that the baptism which they had received by him was not in vain. Now, if that the verity and force thereof must be looked for at Christ’s hands, then ought the

apostles to hope that that shall surely be fulfilled which John prefigured. So must we, in like manner, think that we are not in vain baptized with water by men, because Christ, who commanded the same to be done, will fulfill his office, and baptize us with the Spirit. So faith draweth a consequent from the outward sign unto the inward effect; yet doth it not attribute any more than is meet, either to the sign or to the minister thereof, because in the sign it only looketh unto the promise, which is Christ’s, and doth acknowledge him to be the only author of grace. Let us, therefore, use such a mean that we do in no part diminish Christ’s honor; and yet, nevertheless, let us hope for that fruit by our baptism which is noted in this place. By assigning so short a time our Savior maketh them more joyful to hope well. Whereupon it followeth, that that death was not to be lamented which brought with it presently so precious fruit. And let us note this also, that this word baptism is used improperly in this place, that the contrariety may be full. After the same sort, Paul, in his Epistle unto the Romans, (Romans 3:26,) after he hath set down the law of works, to the end that the contrary may answer on the other side, he useth the law of faith for faith itself. 9, RAY STEDMAN, "There is here a four-fold characteristic of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Literally, what Jesus said to these eleven disciples (Judas now having left them) was, "Stick around in Jerusalem." That is the literal Greek expression. "Stick around! Don't go outside the city until the promise of the Father has come upon you." Why? Because you'll make a mess of it if you try witnessing without this. This is an essential. You cannot be an effective Christian if you are not operating in the power of the Holy Spirit. Every attempt made to advance the cause of Christianity which does not arise from that source only destroys the message God wants to convey. "It is absolutely essential," Jesus says to these men, "so don't try anything without it. Just wait, for, in a few days, you will receive the promise of the Father." What did he mean, "the promise of the Father"? He meant several things. First, he indicates that the Holy Spirit's coming would not be ritual but reality. John, he said, baptized with water. That is a ritual, a shadow, a picture. But the reality will be the actual Spirit himself, coming to live in you. The promise that was made to Abraham two thousand years ago (i.e., prior to that point in history) will be fulfilled in you. If you want to read that promise you will find it in the twelfth chapter of Genesis. There God said to Abraham, "I will bless you, and make your name great, ... and all nations shall be blessed through you," (Genesis 12:2-3). We are not told exactly what that blessing is when we read this in Genesis. But in Paul's letter to the Galatians he tells us very explicitly what the blessing consisted of. In the third chapter of Galatians, Verse 13, Paul says, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us -- for it is written "Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree" -- that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14 RSV) There we learn what God promised Abraham; he promised to give him the Spirit and, through him, to give the blessing (that same Spirit) to everyone who believes, even to the Gentile world. "Well," you ask, "does that mean that no one ever received the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost, even though the promise was given to Abraham two thousand years before?" Well, no Gentile did, unless he had first become a part of Israel. There is no record of any Gentile believer ever receiving the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost. It was there that it began to go out to the Gentiles. But in the Old Testament there are

several accounts of those who were filled with the Spirit in Israel. Abraham was himself so filled, because God promised, "I will bless you," and that blessing, Paul says, is the promise of the Spirit. But not only Abraham, but Moses, and Joshua, and David, and many of the kings of Judah, and certainly all of the prophets, for Peter tells us that when these prophets predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would follow they were speaking by means of "the Spirit of Christ which was in them," (1 Peter 1:11 KJV). They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke out of that indwelling. Yet these Old Testament believers came to a realization and experience of the Spiritfilled life only by means of a long-drawn out process of learning by means of shadows. They were not given this experience first, as we are, and then learned what the effects of it are; but they were first taught by means of pictures, shadows, types, symbols. The Old Testament is full of these: Aaron's rod that budded, which was kept in the Ark of the Covenant; the candlestick in the tabernacle; these were pictures of the Holy Spirit, illuminating the mind and heart. The cruse of oil from which the widow poured which never became empty, was a picture of the flowing of the oil of the Spirit in a life. The two olive trees of Zechariah which dripped oil from their branches into the bowls of the golden lampstand, this is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel's river that came pouring out from under the throne of God, growing deeper as it went, is a wonderful picture of the flow and power of the Spiritfilled life. These men of old, reading these and studying them, gradually understood what it meant to be filled with the Spirit and experienced it by faith. The last of these shadows was the baptism of John the Baptist. Jesus said that he was the end of the prophets. We are told of John the Baptist that he was "filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb," (Luke 1:15). He experienced this in his own life, but he had to teach it by shadows. As he baptized people in water he thereby taught them that there was coming One who would immediately place them into the body of Christ, making them part of his life. Jesus called John the Baptist "the greatest born of women" (Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28), because he was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb. But now, he says, there will be no more shadows; now there will be immediate reality. Everyone will begin their Christian life on this level. He had said to these eleven men earlier, "The Holy Spirit is with you, but he shall be in you," (John 14:17). That was true of these particular men at that time. They had not yet come to this experience. But that does not mean that no one in the Old Testament was filled with the Holy Spirit; it only means that these men were not yet so filled. Their filling of the Spirit was delayed until it would be available to both Jews and Gentiles. Though they were Jews, they were to be part of a body made up of both Jews and Gentiles to be formed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Thus our Lord stresses the reality of this. The Holy Spirit is given now, immediately when anyone believes in Jesus. There is no sign, no feeling, no emotional indication of it. It occurs, as Jesus said it would, when any believe on him. It is the means by which the risen life of Jesus becomes available to us, continuously and constantly. All that he is made available through all that I am. This means that I can have every bit of his attention all the time. All that he is, is available to me, and I do not have to share him with anyone. I can have everything there is of Jesus Christ. He is looking at me, he is talking to me, he is related to me, and everything that he is I can have all the time! But the amazing thing is, so can you! This is

why it was important that the Holy Spirit come because it is by means of the Spirit that Jesus' life is made available to us.

6So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

1. Barnes, “When they therefore were come together - At the Mount of Olives.
See Act_1:9, Act_1:12. Wilt thou at this time ... - The apostles had entertained the common opinions of the Jews about the temporal dominion of the Messiah. They expected that he would reign as a prince and conqueror, and would free them from the bondage of the Romans. Many instances where this expectation is referred to occur in the gospels, notwithstanding all the efforts which the Lord Jesus made to explain to them the true nature of his kingdom. This expectation was checked, and almost destroyed by his death Luk_24:21, and it is clear that his death was the only means which could effectually change their opinions on this subject. Even his own instructions would not do it; and nothing but his being taken from them could direct their minds effectually to the true nature of his kingdom. Yet, though his death checked their expectations, and appeared to thwart their plans, his return to life excited them again. They beheld him with them; they were assured that it was the same Saviour; they saw now that his enemies had no power over him; they could not doubt that a being who could rise from the dead could easily accomplish all his plans. And as they did not doubt now that he would restore the kingdom to Israel, they asked whether he would do it at that time? They did not ask whether he would do it at all, or whether they had correct views of his kingdom; but, taking that for granted, they asked him whether that was the time in which he would do it. The emphasis of the inquiry lies in the expression, “at this time,” and hence, the answer of the Saviour refers solely to the point of their inquiry, and not to the correctness or incorrectness of their opinions. From these expectations of the apostles we may learn: (1) That there is nothing so difficult to be removed from the mind as prejudice in favor of erroneous opinions. (2) That such prejudice will survive the plainest proofs to the contrary. (3) That it will often manifest itself even after all proper means have been taken to subdue it. Erroneous opinions thus maintain a secret ascendency in a man’s mind, and are revived by the slightest circumstances, even long after it was supposed that they were overcome, and in the face of the plainest proofs of reason or of Scripture. Restore - Bring back; put into its former situation. Judea was formerly governed by its own kings and laws; now, it was subject to the Romans. This bondage was grievous, and the nation sighed for deliverance. The inquiry of the apostles evidently was, whether

he would now free them from the bondage of the Romans, and restore them to their former state of freedom and prosperity, as in the times of David and Solomon. See Isa_ 1:26. The word “restore” also may include more than a reducing it to its former state. It may mean, wilt thou now bestow the kingdom and dominion to Israel, according to the prediction in Dan_7:27? The kingdom - The dominion; the empire; the reign. The expectation was that the Messiah the king of Israel would reign over people, and that thus the nation of the Jews would extend their empire over all the earth. To Israel - To the Jews, and particularly to the Jewish followers of the Messiah. Lightfoot thinks that this question was asked in indignation against the Jews. “Wilt thou confer dominion on a nation which has just put thee to death?” But the answer of the Saviour shows that this was not the design of the question.

2. Clarke, “When they therefore were come together - It is very likely that this is to be understood of their assembling on one of the mountains of Galilee, and there meeting our Lord. At this time restore again the kingdom - That the disciples, in common with the Jews, expected the Messiah’s kingdom to be at least in part secular, I have often had occasion to note. In this opinion they continued less or more till the day of pentecost; when the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit taught them the spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ. The kingdom had now for a considerable time been taken away from Israel; the Romans, not the Israelites, had the government. The object of the disciples’ question seems to have been this: to gain information, from their all-knowing Master, whether the time was now fully come, in which the Romans should be thrust out, and Israel made, as formerly, an independent kingdom. But though the verb αποκαθιστανειν signifies to reinstate, to renew, to restore to a former state or master, of which numerous examples occur in the best Greek writers, yet it has also another meaning, as Schoettgen has here remarked, viz. of ending, abolishing, blotting out: so Hesychius says, αποκαταστασις is the same as τελειωσις, finishing, making an end of a thing. And Hippocrates, Aph. vi. 49, uses it to signify the termination of a disease. On this interpretation the disciples may be supposed to ask, having recollected our Lord’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the whole Jewish commonwealth, Lord, Wilt thou at this time destroy the Jewish commonwealth, which opposes thy truth, that thy kingdom may be set up over all the land? This interpretation agrees well with all the parts of our Lord’s answer, and with all circumstances of the disciples, of time, and of place; but, still, the first is most probable.

3. Gill, “When they therefore were come together,.... That is, Christ, and his
eleven apostles; for not the hundred and twenty disciples hereafter mentioned, nor the five hundred brethren Christ appeared to at once, are here intended, but the apostles, as appears from Act_1:2. they asked of him, saying, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? The kingdom had been for some time taken away from the Jews, Judea was reduced to a Roman province, and was now actually under the power of a Roman governor. And the nation in general was in great expectation, that upon the Messiah's

coming they should be delivered from the yoke of the Romans, and that the son of David would be king over them. The disciples of Christ had imbibed the same notions, and were in the same expectation of a temporal kingdom to be set up by their master, as is evident from Mat_20:21 and though his sufferings and death had greatly damped their spirits, and almost destroyed their hopes, see Luk_24:21 yet his resurrection from the dead, and his discoursing with them about the kingdom of God, and ordering them to wait at Jerusalem, the metropolis of that nation, for some thing extraordinary, revived their hopes, and emboldened them to put this question to him: and this general expectation of the Jews is expressed by them in the same language as here, "the days of the Messiah will be the time when ‫שתשוב המלכות לישראל‬, "the kingdom shall return", or "be restored to Israel"; and they shall return to the land of Israel, and that king shall be exceeding great, and the house of his kingdom shall be in Zion, and his name shall be magnified, and his fame shall fill the Gentiles more than King Solomon; all nations shall be at peace with him, and all lands shall serve him, because of his great righteousness, and the wonderful things which shall be done by him; and whoever rises up against him God will destroy, and he shall deliver him into his hands; and all the passages of Scripture testify of his and our prosperity with him; and there shall be no difference in anything from what it is now, only "the kingdom shall return to Israel" (i).

4. Henry, “In Jerusalem Christ, by his angel, had appointed his disciples to meet him in Galilee; there he appointed them to meet him in Jerusalem again, such a day. Thus he would try their obedience, and it was found ready and cheerful; they came together, as he appointed them, to be the witnesses of his ascension, of which we have here an account. Observe, I. The question they asked him at this interview. They came together to him, as those that had consulted one another about it, and concurred in the question nemine contradicente - unanimously; they came in a body, and put it to him as the sense of the house, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? Two ways this may be taken: 1. “Surely thou wilt not at all restore it to the present rulers of Israel, the chief priests and the elders, that put thee to death, and, to compass that design, tamely gave up the kingdom to Caesar, and owned themselves his subjects. What! Shall those that hate and persecute thee and us be trusted with power? This be far from thee.” Or rather, 2. “Surely thou wilt now restore it to the Jewish nation, as far as it will submit to thee as their king.” Now two things were amiss in this question: (1.) Their expectation of the thing itself. They thought Christ would restore the kingdom to Israel, that is, that he would make the nation of the Jews as great and considerable among the nations as it was in the days of David and Solomon, of Asa and Jehoshaphat; that, as Shiloh, he would restore the sceptre to Judah, and the lawgiver; whereas Christ came to set up his own kingdom, and that a kingdom of heaven, not to restore the kingdom to Israel, an earthly kingdom. See here, [1.] How apt even good men are to place the happiness of the church too much in external pomp and power; as if Israel could not be glorious unless the kingdom were restored to it, nor Christ's disciples honoured unless they were peers of the realm; whereas we are told to expect the cross in

this world, and to wait for the kingdom in the other world. [2.] How apt we are to retain what we have imbibed, and how hard it is to get over the prejudices of education. The disciples, having sucked in this notion with their milk that the Messiah was to be a temporal prince, were long before they could be brought to have any idea of his kingdom as spiritual. [3.] How naturally we are biassed in favour of our own people. They thought God would have no kingdom in the world unless it were restored to Israel; whereas the kingdoms of this world were to become his, in whom he would be glorified, whether Israel should sink or swim. [4.] How apt we are to misunderstand scripture - to understand that literally which is spoken figuratively, and to expound scripture by our schemes, whereas we ought to form our schemes by the scriptures. But, when the Spirit shall be poured out from on high, our mistakes will be rectified, as the apostles' soon after were. (2.) Their enquiry concerning the time of it: “Lord, wilt thou do it at this time? Now that thou hast called us together is it for this purpose, that proper measures may be concerted for the restoring of the kingdom to Israel? Surely there cannot be a more favourable juncture than this.” Now herein they missed their mark, [1.] That they were inquisitive into that which their Master had never directed nor encouraged them to enquire into. [2.] That they were impatient for the setting up of that kingdom in which they promised themselves so great a share, and would anticipate the divine counsels. Christ had told them that they should sit on thrones (Luk_22:30), and now nothing will serve them but they must be in the throne immediately, and cannot stay the time; whereas he that believeth doth not make haste, but is satisfied that God's time is the best time.

5. Jamison, “wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? —
Doubtless their carnal views of Messiah’s kingdom had by this time been modified, though how far it is impossible to say. But, as they plainly looked for some restoration of the kingdom to Israel, so they are neither rebuked nor contradicted on this point.

6. RWP, “They therefore (hoi men oun). Demonstrative use of hoi with men oun
without any corresponding de just as in Act_1:1 men occurs alone. The combination men

oun is common in Acts (27 times). Cf. Luk_3:18. The oun is resumptive and refers to the
introductory (Act_1:1-5), which served to connect the Acts with the preceding Gospel. The narrative now begins. Asked (ērōtōn). Imperfect active, repeatedly asked before Jesus answered. Lord (kurie). Here not in the sense of “sir” (Mat_21:30), but to Jesus as Lord and Master as often in Acts (Act_19:5, Act_19:10, etc.) and in prayer to Jesus (Act_7:59). Dost thou restore (ei apokathistaneis). The use of ei in an indirect question is common. We have already seen its use in direct questions (Mat_12:10; Luk_13:23 which see note for discussion), possibly in imitation of the Hebrew (frequent in the lxx) or as a partial condition without conclusion. See also Act_7:1; Act_19:2; Act_21:37; Act_22:25. The form of the verb apokathistanō is late (also apokathistaō) omega form for the old and common apokathistēmi, double compound, to restore to its former state. As a matter of fact the Messianic kingdom for which they are asking is a political kingdom that would

throw off the hated Roman yoke. It is a futuristic present and they are uneasy that Jesus may yet fail to fulfil their hopes. Surely here is proof that the eleven apostles needed the promise of the Father before they began to spread the message of the Risen Christ. They still yearn for a political kingdom for Israel even after faith and hope have come back. They need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Act_1:4.).

7. HAWKER, "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying,
Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (7) And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. (8) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. This meeting, which was by the Lord’s appointment, (see Mat_28:16) and which it should seem, was not the same as that spoken of verse 5 (Act_1:5); was the last farewell between Jesus and his Apostles, before his ascension. Everything in it, became interesting. The question which the Apostles put to Christ, plainly shews that their minds, notwithstanding our Lord’s death, and resurrection, were still warped, with the same Jewish ideas, of an earthly kingdom. And I beg the Reader to notice this, the rather because it serves to confirm the blessed truth, that it is the office work of God the Holy Ghost, to guide into all truth, Joh_16:13. Hence the Lord Jesus waved the question, by directing their minds to the expectation of the Spirit’s coming, which he had just before said, would be not many days hence. And what a blessed promise the Lord Jesus closed up the whole conversation with, when he finished his parting discourse; in the assurance, of what should be the immediate result of the Holy Ghost’s coming: Ye shall be witnesses unto me! Reader! though this gracious promise of Christ had a special respect to the Lord’s Apostles, the ministers of his word, when God the Spirit had ordained them to the work: yet do not overlook the part, which all his people take in the same thing, when they have received also the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Every regenerated child of God, is a witness for God; not only to his Being as God, but to his being a God in Christ: and to all his Covenant offices, as they relate to the Church of God, in all ages. You and I are Christ’s witnesses, if so be the Lord the Spirit hath regenerated us from the Adam-nature of a fallen state, and brought us from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan, to the living God. We then can, and do, witness to the whole mission of Christ: and have the witness in ourselves, that Christ hath finished redemption-work, and is returned to glory; because, God the Holy Ghost is come down, and we know it agreeably to our Lord’s most sure promise, before his ascension, Tit_3:37; Joh_16:7.

8. CALVI , "He showeth that the apostles were gathered together when as this question was moved, that we may know that it came not of the foolishness of one or two that it was moved, but it was moved by the common consent of them all; but marvelous is their rudeness, that when as they had been diligently instructed by the space of three whole years, they betray no less ignorance than if they had heard never a word. There are as many errors in this question as words. They ask him as concerning a kingdom; but they dream of an earthly kingdom, which should flow with riches, with dainties, with external peace, and with such like good things; and

while they assign the present time to the restoring of the same. they desire to triumph before the battle; for before such time as they begin to work they will have their wages. They are also greatly deceived herein, in that they restrain Christ’s kingdom unto the carnal Israel, which was to be spread abroad, even unto the uttermost parts of the world. Furthermore, there is this fault in all their whole question, namely, that they desire to know those things which are not meet for them to know. o doubt they were not ignorant what the prophets did prophesy concerning the restoring of David’s kingdom, they had oftentimes heard their Master preach concerning this matter. Lastly, It was a saying common in every man’s mouth, that, in the most miserable captivity of the people, they should all be comforted, with the expectation of the kingdom that should be. ow, they hoped for the restoring hereof at the coming of the Messias, and hereupon was it that so soon as the apostles saw their Master Christ risen from the dead, they straightway began to think thereupon; but, in the meantime, they declared thereby how bad scholars they were under so good a Master. Therefore doth Christ briefly comprehend 24 in this short answer all the errors whereinto they fell in this their question, as I shall straightway declare. To restore, in this place, doth signify to set up again that which was fallen, and through many ruins grown out of fashion; for out of the dry stock of Isai [Jesse] should spring a Branch, and the tabernacle of David, which was laid waste, 25 should be erected and set on foot again. 9. SBC, “The extent and the nature of the intercourse of the risen Lord with His
disciples must ever be of the deepest interest to the Church. He was not in those forty days quite as He had been before. His theme was the same, but the tense was different. He could not now talk of His decease as a future event. The subject of much of His conversation seems to have been the unfolding of the prophecies of the ancient Scripture. He was Himself the proper theme of His own ministry. It was natural for the disciples to ask the question of the text. They had been longing, like all patriotic Jews, for the restoration of the glories of the house of Israel. Ancient prophecies, they knew, had foretold this restoration, and had always associated it with a great outpouring of the Spirit. Now that they had been expressly bidden to go to Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the Holy Ghost, was it strange that they should ask, "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" I. In their request several mistakes were involved. (1) They thought that national supremacy was synonymous with spiritual power. (2) They thought that the visible was the enduring. After their roving life they longed to be at home and at rest, and they thought that the restoration of the kingdom would mean for them a secure and permanent abode. (3) They thought that outward conformity was the same as inward unity. They forgot that outward conformity may be merely like the tie that binds a bundle of dry and lifeless faggots. II. Our Lord’s answer is a very remarkable one. They had asked for power, and He promises that they should be endued with power from on high. The times and seasons mattered little. What they needed was strength to be witnesses for Him. Stormy times were coming, when their strength would be sorely tried. Yet if ever the kingdom did come, it must be by the faithful efforts of faithful men. H. E. Stone, Jan. 4th, 1891

Consider what is the nature of the power necessary to regenerate and save the human race I. Let us show what it is not. (1) We should sadly misunderstand the words of the Saviour did we attach to them the idea of physical power. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God." (2) It is not miraculous power. They were already endued with this, though no doubt a great increase was subsequently made to it. This was not the power the world stood principally in need of. Miraculous power cannot save men. We would rush to perdition through a battalion of ghosts. (3) Neither is it the power of eloquence. I admit there is tremendous power in words; they breathe, they burn, they move the soul. But there is one thing they cannot do—regenerate the soul. They are not adequate to do that. The power Christ promised His disciples was not the word power. (4) Neither is it the power of logic. It is trite and commonplace to say that argument cannot convert a soul. God can never save you by argument; the world will defy the Almighty in a debate. There is argument in the Bible; and argument is indispensable; but it is not by logic that men are made new creatures. The power that Christ promised His disciples is not that of logic. (5) It is not that of thought. I do not say that thought is not necessary; but it is not of itself adequate to bring about the desired change. II. Consider the subject on its positive side. (1) This power which Christ promises to His disciples is "power from on high," a power which has its source in worlds above us. (2) It is "the power of the Holy Ghost." (3) Its effect was to make the disciples pre-eminently spiritual. (4) Its effect on the congregation is that many are turned to God, and are brought out of nature’s darkness into the marvellous light of the Gospel. J. Cynddylan Jones, Studies in the Acts, p. 1.

The power which accompanied the first missionaries of the Gospel and fitted them for a work which, to human eyes, must have seemed hopeless, is the power which works now for the accomplishment of the same ends. The external phenomena of that day have indeed ceased; the miracles are no more; the gift of tongues is but once or twice alluded to in the second century, and then we hear no more of it. But every minister of Christ, every missionary of the cross, must be clothed with the same power from on high which was imparted to the first Apostles, if he would carry on the work which they commenced. And what is the secret of that power? Where is it to be found? I answer, first in the knowledge of the truth, and next in the sanctification of the heart. I. This power cannot exist apart from the knowledge of the truth and the love of the truth. "He shall guide you into all truth," says our Lord. That is the most magnificent promise ever given to man, opening the brightest vista to human thought and aspiration, and fitted to fire the noblest minds with a worthy ambition. The whole truth into which the Apostles were to be led, and into which we are to be led, is the truth concerning Christ. It is in the knowledge of that truth that is to be found the secret of the power that gives life to the world. II. But once more, this power is to be found in the virtue of a holy life, no less than in the knowledge and utterance of the truth. The Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit. And in His gracious work we may believe that He who enlightens the understanding to know the truth, does also purify the heart and sanctify the whole man. The power of a holy life is far more than the power of uttering the truth. You may not have the learning of an

Origen, or the philosophical acuteness of an Augustine, or the fervid eloquence of a Chrysostom; but if you have been baptised with the Spirit of God, you must be a light wherever you are, you must be a life and a power in the world; there will stream forth from you, in your daily example, in your mortification of self, in your growing selfmastery, in your growing self-sacrifice, in your pureness, your charity, your patience, your meekness, your love; in a word, in your bright exhibition of all the graces of the Christian character, that power which of old subdued the world. J. S. Perowne, Sermons, p. 205. References: Act_1:1, Act_1:2.—G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons to English Congregations in India, p. 295; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 32; A. Verran, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 397. Act_1:6.—Clergyman’s Magazine, vol. v., p. 272. Act_1:6, Act_ 1:7.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 37. Act_1:6, Act_1:8.—New Outlines on the New Testament, pp. 77, 79. Act_1:6-12.—Preacher’s Monthly, vol. i., p. 361. Act_1:7, Act_1:8.—J. R. Bailey, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 314; R. W. Church, Ibid., vol. ii., p. 187. Act_1:1-8.—A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 536; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. ii., p. 130.

7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

1. Barnes, “It is not for you to know - The question of the apostles respected the
time of the restoration; it was not whether he would do it. Accordingly, his answer meets precisely their inquiry; and he tells them in general that the time of the great events of God’s kingdom was not to be understood by them. They had asked a similar question on a former occasion, Mat_24:3, “Tell us when shall these things be?” Jesus had answered them then by showing them that certain signs would precede his coming, and then by saying Mat_24:36, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” God has uniformly reproved a vain curiosity on such points, 1Th_5:1-2; 2Pe_3:10; Luk_12:39-40. The times or the seasons - The difference between these words is, that the former denotes any time or period that is indefinite or uncertain; the later denotes a fixed, definite, or appropriate time. They seem to be used here to denote the periods that would mark or determine all future events. The Father hath put ... - So entirely had the Father reserved the knowledge of these to himself, that it is said that even the Son did not know them. See Mar_3:32, and the notes on that place. In his own power - That is, he has fixed them by his own authority, he will bring them

about in his own time and way; and therefore it is not proper for people anxiously to inquire into them. All prophecy is remarkably obscure in regard to the time of its fulfillment. The reasons why it is so are such as the following: (1) To excite people to watch for the events that are to come, as the time is uncertain, and they will come “like a thief in the night.” (2) As they are to be brought about by human agency, they are so arranged as to call forth that agency. If people knew just when an event was to come to pass, they might be remiss, and feel that their own efforts were not needed. (3) The knowledge of future scenes of the exact time, might alarm people, and absorb their thoughts so entirely as to prevent a proper attention to the present duties of life. Duty is ours now; God will provide for future scenes. (4) Promises sufficiently clear and full are therefore given us to encourage us, but not so full as to excite a vain and idle curiosity. All this is eminently true of our own death, one of the most important future scenes through which we are to pass. It is certainly before us; it is near; it cannot be long delayed; it may come at any moment. God has fixed the time, but will not inform us when it shall be. He does not gratify a vain curiosity; nor does he terrify us by announcing to us the day or the hour when we are to die, as we do a man that is to be executed. This would be to make our lives like that of a criminal sentenced to die, and we should through all our life, through fear of death, be subject to bondage, Heb_2:15. He has made enough known to excite us to make preparation, and to be always ready, having our loins girt about and our lamps trimmed and burning, Luk_12:35.

2. Clarke, “The times or the seasons - Χρονους η καιρους. Times here may signify
any large portion of a period, era, or century - such as an Olympiad, lustrum or year; and seasons, the particular part, season, or opportunity in that period, etc., in which it might be proper to do any particular work. God has not only fixed the great periods in which he will bring about those great revolutions which his wisdom, justice, and mercy have designed, but he leaves himself at full liberty to choose those particular portions of such periods as may be best for the accomplishment of those purposes. Thus God is no necessary agent - every thing is put in his own power, εν τᇽ ιδιᇮ εξουσιᇮ, under his control and authority; nor will he form decrees of which he must become the necessary executor. The infinite liberty of acting or not acting, as wisdom, justice, and goodness shall see best, is essential to God, nor can there be a point in the whole of his eternity in which he must be the necessary agent of a fixed and unalterable fate. Infinite, eternal liberty to act or not to act, to create or not create, to destroy or not destroy, belongs to God alone, and we must take care how we imagine decrees, formed even by his own prescience, in reference to futurity, which his power is from the moment of their conception laid under the necessity of performing. In every point of time and eternity, God must be free to act or not to act, as may seem best to his godly wisdom.

3. Gill, “And he said unto them,.... To his disciples,
it is not for you to know the times or the seasons; meaning, not the times that are past from Adam to Christ; as how long the world stood; when the flood came; when Sodom and Gomorrha were burned to ashes; when the children of Israel came out of

Egypt, and the law was given to them; when the kingdom of Israel began, and when the Jews were carried captive, and when they returned; when the sceptre departed from Judah, and Daniel's weeks had an end: or the particular seasons of the year, and the times for planting, ploughing, sowing, reaping, &c. but when should be the time, the day, and hour of the coming of the son of man, when he shall set up his kingdom in a more glorious manner, and the kingdoms of this world shall become his; or when the kingdom shall be restored to Israel. This, by the Jews, is said to be one of the seven things hid from men (k): "seven things are hid from the children of men, and these are they; the day of death, and the day of consolation, and the depth of judgment, and a man knows not what is in the heart of his neighbour, nor with what he shall be rewarded, and "when the kingdom of the house of David shall return", and when the kingdom of Persia shall fall. Which the Father hath put in his own power; and not in the power of a creature, no, not of the angels; see Mat_24:36 wherefore it is vain and sinful, as well as fruitless, to indulge a curious inquiry into these things, or into the times and seasons of what is future; as of the time of a man's death, of the end of the world, of the second coming of Christ; only those things should be looked into which God has revealed, and put into the power of man to know by diligent search and inquiry. Says R. Simeon (l), "flesh and blood, (i.e. man), which knows not ‫עתיו ורגעיו‬, "its times and its moments", (and so the Vulgate Latin renders the words here), ought to add a void space to the blessed God, who knows the times and moments.

4. Henry, “The check which Christ gave to this question, like that which he had a little before given to Peter's enquiry concerning John, What is that to thee? Act_1:7, It is not for you to know the times and seasons. He does not contradict their expectation that the kingdom would be restored to Israel, because that mistake would soon be rectified by the pouring out of the Spirit, after which they never had any more thoughts of the temporal kingdom; and also because there is a sense of the expectation which is true, the setting up of the gospel kingdom in the world; and their mistake of the promise shall not make it of no effect; but he checks their enquiry after the time. 1. The knowledge of this is not allowed to them: It is not for you to know, and therefore it is not for you to ask. (1.) Christ is now parting from them, and parts in love; and yet he gives them this rebuke, which is intended for a caution to his church in all ages, to take heed of splitting upon the rock which was fatal to our first parents - an inordinate desire of forbidden knowledge, and intruding into things which we have not seen because God has not shown them. Nescire velle quae magister maximus docere non vult, erudita inscitia est - It is folly to covet to be wise above what is written, and wisdom to be content to be no wiser. (2.) Christ had given his disciples a great deal of knowledge above others (to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God), and had promised them his Spirit, to teach them more; now, lest they should be puffed up with the abundance of the revelations, he here lets them understand that there were some things which it was not for them to know. We shall see how little reason we have to be proud of our knowledge when we consider how many things we are ignorant of. (3.) Christ had given his disciples instructions sufficient for the discharge of their duty, both before his death and since his resurrection, and in this knowledge he will have them to

be satisfied; for it is enough for a Christian, in whom vain curiosity is a corrupt humour, to be mortified, and not gratified. (4.) Christ had himself told his disciples the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and had promised that the Spirit should show them things to come concerning it, Joh_16:13. He had likewise given them signs of the times, which it was their duty to observe, and a sin to overlook, Mat_24:33; Mat_16:3. But they must not expect nor desire to know either all the particulars of future events or the exact times of them. It is good for us to be kept in the dark, and left at uncertainty concerning the times and moments (as Dr. Hammond reads it) of future events concerning the church, as well as concerning ourselves, - concerning all the periods of time and the final period of it, as well as concerning the period of our own time. Prudens futuri temporis exitum Caliginosa nocte premit Deus But Jove, in goodness ever wise, Hath hid, in clouds of thickest night, All that in future prospect lies Beyond the ken of mortal sight. - Hor. As to the times and seasons of the year, we know, in general, there will be summer and winter counterchanged, but we know not particularly which day will be fair or which foul, either in summer or in winter; so, as to our affairs in this world, when it is a summer-time of prosperity, that we may not be secure, we are told there will come a wintertime of trouble; and in that winter, that we may not despond and despair, we are assured that summer will return; but what this or that particular day will bring forth we cannot tell, but must accommodate ourselves to it, whatever it is, and make the best of it. 2. The knowledge of it is reserved to God as his prerogative; it is what the Father hath put in his own power; it is hid with him. None besides can reveal the times and seasons to come. Known unto God are all his works, but not to us, Act_15:18. It is in his power, and in his only, to declare the end from the beginning; and by this he proves himself to be God, Isa_46:10. “And though he did think fit sometimes to let the Old Testament prophets know the times and the seasons (as of the Israelites' bondage in Egypt four hundred years, and in Babylon seventy years), yet he has not fit to let you know the times and seasons, no not just how long it shall be before Jerusalem be destroyed, though you be so well assured of the thing itself. He hath not said that he will not give you to know something more than you do of the times and seasons;” he did so afterwards to his servant John; “but he has put it in his own power to do it or not, as he thinks fit;” and what is in that New Testament prophecy discovered concerning the times and the seasons is so dark, and hard to be understood, that, when we come to apply it, it concerns us to remember this work, that it is not for us to be positive in determining the times and the seasons. Buxtorf mentions a saying of the rabbin concerning the coming of the Messiah: Rumpatur spiritus eorum qui supputant tempora - Perish the men who calculate the time.

5. Jamison, “It is not for you to know the times, etc. — implying not only that this was not the time, but that the question was irrelevant to their present business and future work.

6. RWP, “Times or seasons (chronous ē kairous). “Periods” and “points” of time
sometimes and probably so here, but such a distinction is not always maintained. See note on Act_17:26 for kairous in the same sense as chronous for long periods of time. But here some distinction seems to be called for. It is curious how eager people have always been to fix definite dates about the second coming of Christ as the apostles were about the political Messianic kingdom which they were expecting. Hath set (etheto). Second aorist middle indicative, emphasizing the sovereignty of the Father in keeping all such matters to himself, a gentle hint to people today about the limits of curiosity. Note also “his own” (idiāi) “authority” (exousiāi).

7. CALVI , "It is not for you to know, etc. This is a general reprehension of the whole question. For it was too curious for them to desire to know that whereof their Master would have them ignorant; but this is the true means to become wise, namely, to go as far forward in learning as our Master Christ goeth in teaching, and willingly to be ignorant of those things which he doth conceal from us. But forasmuch as there is naturally engendered in us a certain foolish and vain curiosity, and also a certain rash kind of boldness, we must diligently observe this admonition of Christ, whereby he correcteth both these vices. But to the end we may know what his meaning is hereby, we must mark the two members which he joineth together. “It is not for you” (saith he) “to know those things which the Father hath placed in his own power.” He speaketh, indeed, of the times and seasons; but seeing there is the like reason in other things, we must think this to be a universal precept, That being contented with the revelation of God, we think it an heinous crime to inquire any further. This is the true mean between the two extremes. The Papists, that they may have somewhat wherewith to cloak their gross ignorance, say for themselves, that they omit the hidden mysteries of God, as though our whole faith and religion did consist upon any thing else than upon the hidden mysteries of God; then may we take our leave of Christ and his gospel, if we must abstain utterly from the hidden mysteries of God. But we must keep, as I said before a mean herein; for we must be desirous to learn so far as our heavenly Master doth teach us; but as for such things as he will have us ignorant of, let mine be so bold as to inquire after them that we may be wise with sobriety. Therefore, so often as we are vexed with this foolish desire of knowing more than we ought, let us call to mind this saying of Christ, “It is not for you to know.” For unless we will burst in against his will and commandment, this shall have force and strength enough to restrain the outrageousness of our wits. ow, as touching the foreknowledge of times, Christ condemneth only the searching out thereof which reacheth beyond the measure of God’s revelation; and that is to be noted out of the second member, as before I have said, “which the Father hath placed in his own power.” Truth it is, that God hath in his own power winter and summer, and the rest of the seasons of the year, cold and heat, fair weather and foul. But because he hath testified that the course of the years shall be perpetual, (Genesis 1:14,) he is said not to have placed that in his own power which he hath revealed unto men. What thing soever the philosophers or husbandmen do comprehend or understand by art, by learning, by judgment, or experience, all that doth God not

retain unto himself, because he hath after a certain sort revealed it unto them, (Genesis 8:22.) The same opinion must we have of the prophets; for it was their office to know those things which God did reveal. But we must be ignorant of the secret events of things, as touching the time to come; for there is nothing which may make us more slack in doing our duties, than too careful an inquisition herein, for we will always take counsel according to the future event of things; but the Lord, by hiding the same from us, doth prescribe unto us what we ought to do. Here ariseth a conflict, because we will not willingly suffer God to have that which is his own, namely, the sole government and direction of things which are to come; but we cast ourselves into a strange and inordinate carefulness. To conclude, Christ forbiddeth us to apply those things unto ourselves, which God doth challenge as proper to himself alone. Of this sort is the foreknowledge of those things which God hath taken to himself to govern and direct, according to his own pleasure, far contrary to our opinion, and otherwise than we could invent. 8. SPURGEO , “First, then, let us consider SOME THI GS WHICH ARE OT FOR US. It is not for us to know the times and the seasons, and to be able to make a map of the future. There are some great events of the future very clearly revealed. The prophecy is not at all indistinct about the facts that will occur; but as to when they will occur, we have no data. Some think that they have; but our Lord here seems to say that we do not know the times and the seasons, and that it is not for us to know them. I pass no censure upon brethren who think that, by elaborate calculations, they find out what is to be in the future; I say that I pass no censure, but time has passed censure of the strongest kind upon all their predecessors. I forget how many miles of books interpreting prophecy there are in the British Museum; but I believe it amounts to miles, all of which have been disproved by the lapse of time. Some of the writers were wonderfully definite; they knew within halfan-hour when the Lord would come. Some of them were very distinct about all the events; they had mapped them all within a few years. The men who wrote the books, happily for themselves, had mostly died before the time appointed came. It is always wise to pitch on a long period of prophecy, that you may be out of the way if the thing does not come off; and they mostly did so. There were very few of them who lived to suffer the disappointment which would certainly have come to them through having fixed the wrong date. I let time censure their mistake. God forgave it, for they did it with a desire for his glory. The bulk of them were most sincere students of the Word, and herein are a lesson to us, even though they were mistaken in their calculations; but, beloved, it is not for you to know the times and the seasons. First, it is not proper for you. It is not your work. You are not sent into the world to be prophets; you are sent into the world to be witnesses. You do not come here to be prognosticators of the events of tomorrow about yourself, or about your children, or about your friends, or about the nations of the earth. A veil hangs between you and the future. Your prayer is to be, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." You are told to look for the coming of your Lord, and to stand in perpetual expectation of his return; but to know the time when he will come, is no part of your office. You are servants who are to look for your Lord, who may come at cock-crowing, or at midday, or at midnight. Keep you always on the tiptoe of expectation. It would be wrong for you to profess that you need not watch until such

and such a time, for he would not come until such a date arrived. As it is not proper for you, so it is not profitable for you. What would you be the better if you could make a map of all that is yet to be? Suppose it were revealed to yon to-night, by an angel, in what respect would it alter your conduct for tomorrow? In what way would it help you to perform the duties which your Master has enjoined upon you? I believe that it would be to you a very dangerous gift; you would be tempted to set yourself up as an interpreter of the future. If men believed in you, you would become eminent and notable, and you would be looked upon with awe. The temptation would be to become a prophet on your own account, to head a new sect, to lead a new company of men to believe in yourself. I say that that would be the temptation. For my part, I would rather not know any more than my Lord pleases to reveal to me; and if he did reveal all the future to me, I should feel like the prophets who spake of "the burden of the Lord." either would it ensure your salvation to be able to foretell the future, for Balaam was a great prophet, but he was a great sinner; he was an arch-rebel although he was an arch-divine. or do I know that, by foretelling the future, you would convince your fellow-men; for oah told them that the world would be destroyed by the flood, he could give them a very accurate account of the time when the rain would descend, and yet they were not converted by his preaching, neither did they come into the ark. Those truths which God has revealed, you must accept for yourselves and proclaim to others; they are profitable for all purposes, and sufficient for your work; but the future is known only to God. And as it is not proper or profitable, so it is not possible for you to know the times and the seasons. You may study as you will, and pray as you please; but the times and the seasons are not committed to you. Our Lord, as man, spoke of one great event of which lie did not know the time: "Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." He does not say that now that he has risen from the dead, but he seems to hint that he did not know so as to tell his disciples; he must keep secret, even from them, that, which the Father hath put in his own power." otice, next, dear friends, that it is not good for you to know the times and the seasons. That is what the Savior means when he says, "It is not for you to know." For, first, it would distract your attention from the great things of which you have to think. It is enough for your mind to dwell upon the cross and the coming glory of your Lord. Keep these two things distinctly before you, and you need not puzzle your brains about the future. If you did know that something important was going to happen very speedily, you might be full of consternation, and do your work in a great hurry. You might be worked up into a frenzy that would spoil all your service. Or, if there was a long time to elapse before the great event, you might feel the indifference of distance. If our Lord were not to come for another hundred years, and he may not, we cannot tell,—then we might say, "My Lord delayeth his coming," and so we might begin to sleep, or to play the wanton. It is for our good to stand ever in this condition, knowing that he is coming, knowing that he will reign, knowing that certain great events will certainly transpire; but not knowing the exact times and seasons when those events are to be expected. In certain cases this uneasiness has drawn to itself a wrong expectation of immediate wonders, and an intense desire for sign-seeing. Ah me, what fanaticisms

come of this! In America years ago, one came forward who declared that on such a day the Lord would come, and he led a great company to believe his crazy predictions. Many took their horses and fodder for two or three days, and went out into the woods, expecting to be all the more likely to see all that was to be seen when once away from the crowded city. All over the States there were people who had made ascension-dresses in which to soar into the air in proper costume. They waited, and they waited, and I am sure that no text could have been more appropriate for them than this, "Ye men of America, why stand ye here gazing up into heaven?" othing came of it; and yet there are thousands in England and America who only need a fanatical leader, and they would run into the like folly. The desire to know the times and seasons is a craze with many poor bodies whose insanity runs in that particular groove. Every occurrence is a "sign of the times": a sign, I may add, which they do not understand. An earthquake is a special favourite with them. " ow," they cry, "the Lord is coming"; as if there had not been earthquakes of the sort we have heard of lately hundreds of times since our Lord went up into heaven. When the prophetic earthquakes occur in divers places, we shall know of it without the warnings of these brethren. What a number of persons have been infatuated by the number of the beast, and have been ready to leap for joy because they have found the number 666 in some great one's name. Why, everybody's name will yield that number if you treat it judiciously, and use the numerals of Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, or Timbuctoo. I feel weary with the silly way in which some people make toys out of Scripture, and play with texts as with a pack of cards. Whenever you meet with a man who sets up to be a prophet, keep out of his way in the future; and when you hear of signs and wonders, turn you to your Lord, and in patience possess your souls. "The just shall live by his faith." There is no other way of living among wild enthusiasts. Believe in God, and ask not for miracles and marvels, or the knowledge of times and seasons. To know when the Lord will restore the kingdom is not in your power. Remember that verse which I read just now in your hearing,—"It is not for you to know the times or the seasons." If I were introduced into a room where a large number of parcels were stored up, and I was told that there was something good for me, I should begin to look for that which had my name upon it, and when I came upon a parcel and I saw in pretty big letters, "It is not for you," I should leave it alone. Here, then, is a casket of knowledge marked, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." Cease to meddle with matters which are concealed, and be satisfied to know the things which are clearly revealed.

8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to

the ends of the earth."

1. Barnes, “But ye shall receive power ... - Literally, as it is translated in the
margin, “Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you.” This was said to them to console them. Though they could not know the times which God reserved in his own appointment, yet they should receive the promised Guide and Comforter. The word “power” here refers to the help or aid which the Holy Spirit would grant; the power of speaking with new tongues; of preaching the gospel with great effect; of enduring great trials, etc. See Mar_16:17-18. The apostles had impatiently asked him if he was then about to restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus by this answer rebuked their impatience, taught them to repress their ill-timed ardor; and assured them again of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Ye shall be witnesses - For this purpose they were appointed; and to prepare them for this they had been with him for more that three years. They had seen his manner of life, his miracles, his meekness, his sufferings; they had listened to his instructions, and had conversed and eaten with him as a friend; they had seen him after he was risen, and were about to see him ascend to heaven; and they were thus qualified to bear witness to these things in all parts of the earth. Their number was so great that it could not be pretended that they were deceived; they had been so intimate with him and his plans that they were qualified to state what his doctrines and purposes were; and there was no motive but conviction of the truth that could induce them to make the sacrifices which they would be required to make in communicating these things to the world. In every respect, therefore, they were qualified to be impartial and competent witnesses. The original word here is µάρτυρες martures, martyrs. From this word the name martyrs has been given to those who suffered in times of persecution. The reason why this name was given to them was that they bore witness to the life, instructions, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, even in the midst of persecution and death. It is commonly supposed that nearly all of the apostles bore witness as martyrs in this sense to the truths of the Christian religion, but of this there is not clear proof. See Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. p. 55, 56. Still the word here does not necessarily mean that they to whom this was addressed would be martyrs, or would be put to death in bearing witness to the Lord Jesus; but that they were everywhere to testify to what they knew of him. The fact that this was the design of their appointment, and that they actually bore such testimony, is abundantly confirmed in the Acts of the Apostles, Act_1:22; Act_5:32; Act_10:39, Act_10:42; Act_22:15. In Jerusalem - In the capital of the nation. See Acts 2. The great work of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost occurred there. Most of the disciples remained in Jerusalem until the persecution that arose about the death of Stephen, Act_8:1, Act_8:4. The apostles remained there until Herod put James to death. Compare Act_8:1, with Act_12:1-2. This was about eight years. During this time, however, Paul was called to the apostleship, and Peter had preached the gospel to Cornelius, Philip to the eunuch, etc. In all Judea - Judea was the southern division of the Holy Land, and included Jerusalem as the capital. See the notes on Mat_2:22. And in Samaria - This was the middle portion of Palestine. See the notes at Mat_2:22.

This was fulfilled by the disciples. See Act_8:1, “And they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria”; compare Act_1:4-5, “They that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.” See also Act_1:14; Act_9:31. And unto the uttermost part of the earth - The word “earth,” or “land,” is sometimes taken to denote only the land of Palestine. But here there does not seem to be a necessity for limiting it thus. If Christ had intended that, he would have mentioned Galilee, as being the only remaining division of the country. But as he had expressly directed them to preach the gospel to all nations, the expression here is clearly to be considered as including the Gentile lands as well as the Jewish. The evidence that they did this is found in the subsequent parts of this book, and in the history of the church. It was in this way that Jesus replied to their question. Though he did not tell them the time when it was to be done, nor affirm that he would restore the kingdom to Israel, yet he gave them an answer that implied that the work should advance - should advance much further than the land of Israel; and that they would have much to do in promoting it. All the commands of God, and all his communications, are such as to call up our energy, and teach us that we have much to do. The uttermost parts of the earth have been given to the Saviour Psa_2:8, and the church should not rest until he whose right it is shall come and reign, Eze_21:27.

2. Clarke, “But ye shall receive power - Ληψεσθε δυναµιν. Translating different
terms of the original by the same English word is a source of misapprehension and error. We must not understand δυναµις which we translate power in this verse, as we do εξουσια, translated by the same word in the preceding verse. In the one, God’s infinite authority over all times and seasons, and his uncompellable liberty of acting or not acting in any given case, are particularly pointed out: in the other, the energy communicated by him to his disciples, through which they were enabled to work miracles, is particularly intended; and δυναµις, in general, signifies such power, and is sometimes put for that of which it is the cause, viz. a miracle. See Mat_7:22; Mat_11:2023; Mat_13:54, Mat_13:58; Mar_6:5; Luk_10:13; and Act_2:22. The disciples were to be made instruments in the establishment of the kingdom of Christ; but this must be by the energy of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; nevertheless, this energy would be given in such times and seasons, and in such measures, as should appear best to the infinite wisdom of God. Christ does not immediately answer the question of the disciples, as it was a point savouring too much of mere curiosity; but he gave them such information as was calculated to bring both their faith and hope into action. St. Chrysostom has well observed, “that it is the prerogative of an instructer to teach his disciple, not what he wishes to learn, but what his master sees best for him:” ∆ιδασκαλου τουτο εστι µη ᅋ βουλεται ᆇ µαθητης, αλλ’ ᅋ συµφερει µαθειν, διδασκειν. Ye shall be witnesses - in all Judea, etc. - Though the word earth, ᅧ γη, is often used to denote Judea alone, yet here, it is probable, it is to be taken in its largest extent. All the inhabitants of the globe might at that period be considered divisible into three classes. 1. The Jews, who adhered to the law of Moses, and the prophetic writings, worshipping the true God only, and keeping up the temple service, as prescribed in their law.

2. The Samaritans, a mongrel people, who worshipped the God of Israel in connection with other gods, 2Ki_17:5, etc., and who had no kind of religious connection with the Jews. See on Mat_10:5 (note). And, 3. The Gentiles, the heathens through all other parts of the world, who were addicted to idolatry alone, and had no knowledge of the true God. By the terms in the text we may see the extent to which this commission of instruction and salvation was designed to reach: to the Jews; to the Samaritans, and the uttermost part of the earth, i.e. to the Gentile nations, thus, to the whole human race the Gospel of the kingdom was to be proclaimed. When the twelve disciples were sent out to preach, Mat_10:5, their commission was very limited - they were not to go in the way of the Gentiles, nor enter into any city of the Samaritans, but preach the Gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel: but here their commission is enlarged, for they are to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. See Mat_28:18.

3. Gill, “But ye shall receive power,.... From on high, with which they were to be
endured, Luk_24:49 meaning the power of the Holy Ghost, strength from him to preach the Gospel, and work miracles in confirmation of it, and courage and greatness of mind, amidst all reproaches and persecutions, to face and oppose their enemies, profess the name of Christ, abide by his truths and ordinances, make their way through all opposition and difficulties, and spread the Gospel all over the world; for intend of enjoying worldly ease, honour, wealth, and riches, they were looking for, our Lord gives them to understand that they must expect labour, service, afflictions, and trials, which would require power and strength, and which they should have: after that the Holy Ghost shall come upon you; from above, from heaven, as he did, and sat upon them in the form of cloven tongues, and of fire; upon which they were filled with knowledge and zeal, with strength and courage, and with all gifts and abilities necessary for their work: and ye shall be witnesses unto me; of the person of Christ, of his deity and sonship, of his incarnation, his ministry, and his miracles, of his suffering and death, of his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension to heaven. This was to be their work, and what belong to them, and not to enquire about a temporal kingdom, and the setting up of that, and the times and seasons of it; their business was to testify of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that followed, and to preach a crucified Jesus, as the only Saviour of lost sinners: and this both in Jerusalem, the "metropolis" of the nation, and there, in the first place, where such dwelt who had been concerned in the crucifixion of Christ, many of whom were to be called by grace, and converted through their ministry: and in all Judea; that part of the land of Israel which was distinct from Samaria and Galilee, and from beyond Jordan; where churches were to be planted, as afterwards they were; see Act_9:31. And in Samaria; where Christ had before forbid his disciples to go; but now their commission is enlarged, and they are sent there; and here Philip went upon the persecution raised against the church at Jerusalem, and preached Christ with great

success, to the conversion of many; and hither Peter and John went to lay their hands on them, and confirm them; see Act_8:5. and unto the uttermost part of the earth; throughout the whole world, whither the sound of the apostles, and their words went, Rom_10:18.

4. Henry, “He appoints them their work, and with authority assures them of an ability to go on with it, and of success in it. “It is not for you to know the times and the seasons - this would do you no good; but know this (Act_1:8) that you shall receive a spiritual power, by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon you, and shall not receive it in vain, for you shall be witnesses unto me and my glory; and your testimony shall not be in vain, for it shall be received here in Jerusalem, in the country about, and all the world over,” Act_1:8. If Christ make us serviceable to his honour in our own day and generation, let this be enough for us, and let not us perplex ourselves about times and seasons to come. Christ here tells them, 1. That their work should be honourable and glorious: You shall be witnesses unto me. (1.) They shall proclaim him king, and publish those truths to the world by which his kingdom should be set up, and he would rule. They must openly and solemnly preach his gospel to the world. (2.) They shall prove this, shall confirm their testimony, not as witnesses do, with an oath, but with the divine seal of miracles and supernatural gifts: You shall be martyrs to me, or my martyrs, as some copies read it; for they attested the truth of the gospel with their sufferings, even unto death. 2. That their power for this work should be sufficient. They had not strength of their own for it, nor wisdom nor courage enough; they were naturally of the weak and foolish things of the world; they durst not appear as witnesses for Christ upon his trial, neither as yet were they able. “But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you” (so it may be read), “shall be animated and actuated by a better spirit than your own; you shall have power to preach the gospel, and to prove it out of the scriptures of the Old Testament” (which, when they were filled with the Holy Ghost, they did to admiration, Act_18:28), “and to confirm it both by miracles and by sufferings.” Note, Christ's witnesses shall receive power for that work to which he calls them; those whom he employs in his service he will qualify for it, and will bear them out in it. 3. That their influence should be great and very extensive: “You shall be witnesses for Christ, and shall carry his cause,” (1.) “In Jerusalem; there you must begin, and many there will receive your testimony; and those that do not will be left inexcusable.” (2.) “Your light shall thence shine throughout all Judea, where before you have laboured in vain.” (3.) “Thence you shall proceed to Samaria, though at your first mission you were forbidden to preach in any of the cities of the Samaritans.” (4.) “Your usefulness shall reach to the uttermost part of the earth, and you shall be blessings to the whole world.” 5. Jamison, “receive power — See Luk_24:49.
and ye shall be witnesses unto me ... in Jerusalem ... in all Judea ... and unto the uttermost part of the earth — This order of apostolic preaching and success supplies the proper key to the plan of the Acts, which relates first the progress of the Gospel “in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria” (the first through ninth chapters), and then “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (the tenth through twenty-eighth chapters).

6. RWP, “Power (dunamin). Not the “power” about which they were concerned

(political organization and equipments for empire on the order of Rome). Their very question was ample proof of their need of this new “power” (dunamin), to enable them (from dunamai, to be able), to grapple with the spread of the gospel in the world. When the Holy Ghost is come upon you (epelthontos tou hagiou pneumatos eph'

humas). Genitive absolute and is simultaneous in time with the preceding verb “shall
receive” (lēmpsesthe). The Holy Spirit will give them the “power” as he comes upon them. This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit referred to in Act_1:5. My witnesses (mou martures). Correct text. “Royal words of magnificent and Divine assurance” (Furneaux). Our word martyrs is this word martures. In Luk_24:48 Jesus calls the disciples “witnesses to these things” (martures toutōn, objective genitive). In Act_1:22 an apostle has to be a “witness to the Resurrection” of Christ and in Act_10:39 to the life and work of Jesus. Hence there could be no “apostles” in this sense after the first generation. But here the apostles are called “my witnesses.” “His by a direct personal relationship” (Knowling). The expanding sphere of their witness when the Holy Spirit comes upon them is “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (heōs eschatou tēs gēs). Once they had been commanded to avoid Samaria (Mat_10:5), but now it is included in the world program as already outlined on the mountain in Galilee (Mat_28:19; Mar_ 16:15). Jesus is on Olivet as he points to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost (last, eschatou) part of the earth. The program still beckons us on to world conquest for Christ. “The Acts themselves form the best commentary on these words, and the words themselves might be given as the best summary of the Acts” (Page). The events follow this outline (Jerusalem till the end of chapter 7, with the martyrdom of Stephen, the scattering of the saints through Judea and Samaria in chapter 8, the conversion of Saul, chapter 9, the spread of the gospel to Romans in Caesarea by Peter (chapter 10), to Greeks in Antioch (chapter 11), finally Paul’s world tours and arrest and arrival in Rome (chapter 11 to chapter 28).

7. GTB. "Power for Witness
Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses.—Act_1:8. 1. The Book of Acts takes up the thread of the story just before the point at which the Gospel had dropped it. It begins with a brief summary of the Forty Days, adding a fuller account of the Ascension. These introductory verses (Act_1:1-12) mark the transition from the earthly Ministry of the Lord (“all that Jesus began both to do and to teach”) to the Ministry of the Spirit which was to follow His Ascension. The earthly Ministry had been from the first in the power of the Spirit, as the Gospel has taught us; and the Acts opens with an intimation that this continued to the end. The last injunctions to the Apostles were given, it is noted, “through [the] Holy Spirit.” The Messianic inspiration was upon the Risen Christ as it had been upon the Christ of the Ministry, and was perhaps enhanced by the more spiritual conditions of the Resurrection life. 2. In these interviews before the Ascension the Lord’s mind seems to have recalled the days of His own Baptism and Anointing by the Holy Spirit. He knew that a like event was about to occur in the history of the Church; her baptism with the Spirit was at hand. The

Eleven were charged not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the fulfilment of the Father’s promise; “for John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized in [the] Holy Spirit not many days hence.” As to the time of the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom He had nothing to say; it was in the Father’s hands. It was enough for them to know what directly concerned their own immediate future, and the discharge of their duty in it. “Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa and Samaria, and unto the end of the earth.” As the Lord’s own Baptism had been followed by His ministry in Galilee, so the Baptism of the Church was to be preparatory to a world-wide ministry; a ministry not, like His own, creative of a new order, but one of simple testimony; yet to be fulfilled only in the power of the Spirit of God.1 [Note: H. B. Swete.] The text contains three clauses: (1) Ye shall receive power, (2) when the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and (3) ye shall be my witnesses. These clauses suggest three divisions under which we may study the subject— Power. The Source of Power. The Use of Power. I Power “Ye shall receive power.” There are two Greek words (cf2 ᅚξουσία and cf2 δύναµις) in the New Testament, both of which are rendered by our word “power.” The one refers to power in the sense of rule or authority, the other means ability, strength, or force. It is the latter of these two words that is used here. What was this “power” which the Apostles were to receive? As a matter of fact, what power did they receive? 1. Was it, as they anticipated, political power? Certainly, in the course of years the Church of Christ did acquire something very like the power of the sceptre. The prophecies of Isaiah seemed to intimate that this would be so: in the Evangelical prophet the Church is already represented as a spiritual empire, surrounded with the circumstances of temporal greatness. But when did this form of power present itself? Not in her first years of missionary enterprise and of abundant martyrdom. But when she was no longer composed of a despised minority, when by a long catalogue of labours and sufferings she had won her way to the understandings and to the hearts of multitudes, she forthwith acquired power in the State. Found in all the walks of life, in all the provinces of the great world-empire, and in regions beyond its frontiers; an intellectual force, when other thought was languishing or dying; a focus of high moral effort, when the world around was a very flood of revolting wickedness; a bond of the closest union, when all else was tending to social divergence and disruption of interests; she became a political force. Such she was long before Constantine associated the Cross with the Roman purple. Political power came to the Church, at first unbidden, and in many cases unwelcomed. It was a current charge against the primitive Christians that they neglected civil and political duties. But political power came to them from the nature of the case, and inevitably: the Gospel was necessarily a popular moral influence, and it could not be this on a great scale without tending to become a power in the State. Undoubtedly political power was given to the Church by the loving providence of our Lord, as an instrument whereby to promote man’s highest good. But if such power was

an opportunity often used for the highest purposes and with the happiest effect, it was also a temptation to worldly ambition, and even to worse sins, often yielded to with the most disastrous results. Who can doubt this after studying in the history of the great Western See such lives as, for example, those of a Julius 2. or of a Leo 10.? Who can doubt this after an impartial consideration of the history of other portions of the Church nearer home, which have purchased a political status at the heavy cost of sacrificing spiritual energy and freedom? He who said at the first, “My kingdom is not of this world,” is perhaps bringing Christians everywhere back by the course of His providences to the fuller acknowledgment of this primal truth. If political power had been of the essence of our Lord’s promise to His Apostles, we might well lose heart; but there is no cause for despondency, if the power which the Apostles were to receive was of a higher and more enduring character. Political power is after all but a clumsy instrument for achieving spiritual success.1 [Note: H. P. Liddon.] 2. Was, then, the power in question intellectual power? The Gospel has undoubtedly lightened up man’s understanding and fertilized his thought. Knowledge is of itself power; and knowledge on the highest and most interesting of all subjects is a very high form of power. For knowledge is the motive and warrant of action, and they whose eye ranges over two worlds occupy a more commanding position than they who see only one. A certain power of this description was undoubtedly a result of the gift of Pentecost. Our Lord had dwelt on the illuminating office of the Comforter: “He shall guide you into all truth.” And the first Apostles needed such an assistance, since they were utterly uneducated men, with the narrowest of mental horizons. How wonderfully, on the day of Pentecost itself, is the thought of St. Peter fertilized and expanded! The unlettered fisherman is suddenly the profound expositor of ancient prophecy, and within a short period his teaching brings him into collision with the Sadducean leaders of educated sceptical opinion. And in later years how rich and various are the intellectual gifts of the inspired Apostles of Christ! And when we pass down into later ages, we find the promise of intellectual power fulfilled almost continuously in the annals of the Church. But was this intellectual power, swaying the thoughts of educated men, the chief, or even a main, element of the promised gift? Surely not. The Gospel was meant for the whole human family; and the poor, in consideration of the hardness of their lot, had a first claim upon its preachers. Not many learned were called among the multitudes who first poured into the kingdom; and mere cultivated intellect is a sorry weapon wherewith to approach those who lack that cultivation which is necessary to understand it. The gift of Pentecost may indeed have included intellectual power; a living, active soul is a thinking as well as a loving soul; but the main essential gift itself was something beyond, something higher, something more universally acceptable, something more adapted to the soul of man, as man, something more capable of advancing the glory and of doing justice to the grace of God. There is in our day a marvellous idolatry of talent; it is a strange and a grievous thing to see how men bow down before genius and success. Draw the distinction sharp and firm between these two things—goodness is one thing, talent another. The Son of Man came, not as a scribe, but as a poor working man. He was a Teacher, but not a Rabbi. When once the idolatry of talent enters the Church then farewell to spirituality; when men ask their teachers not for that which will make them more humble and godlike, but for the excitement of an intellectual banquet, then farewell to Christian progress.1 [Note: F. W. Robertson.] 3. Was this power, then, to be a faculty of working miracles? Our thoughts seem to gravitate naturally towards such a supposition. A certain limited power of this description, varying apparently with the spiritual state of the disciples themselves, had

been granted to them during our Lord’s ministry. At one time the disciples rejoice that the devils are subject to them; at another they are powerless to relieve the lunatic at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration. But after the Ascension, and because of it, they were to do works even greater than those of their Divine Master. “Greater works than these shall he (that believeth) do, because I go to my Father.” The gift of miracles depended on the Ascension in the same sense as did the gift of the promised Comforter; and it was natural to identify the two gifts, or to regard the former as a chief result or fruit of the latter. But miracle was not of the essence of that power which the Apostles were to receive at Pentecost. It was rather an evidence, an occasional accompaniment, an ornament of the central gift, than the gift itself. Miracle is by no means a resistless instrument for propagating a doctrine. Unbelief has many methods for escaping its force. Where it cannot insinuate trickery, it has no scruple about hinting at the agency of Beelzebub. The state of mind which resists the historical and prophetical evidences of Revelation is likely to deal somewhat summarily with a natural wonder, however well attested, in the domain of sense, Our Lord Himself tells us that this is so: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” 4. Nor did the power consist in the ministerial commission itself: in the authorization to preach the Word and to administer the Sacraments. Undoubtedly, in a profound sense of the term, that commission, with its several elementary portions, is a power unlike any other which God has given to His creatures here below. But our Lord had already solemnly and fully commissioned His Apostles. They were in full possession of all powers necessary to feed and teach the Lord’s people, but it would seem that until the Day of Pentecost these powers were like undeveloped faculties, latent in the souls of the Apostles, but unexercised. Something else was needed, some vivifying heavenly force which should quicken and stimulate these hidden energies, and, like the rain or the sunshine upon the dormant vitality of the seed or the shoot, should provoke them into an outburst of energetic life. 5. Wherein did this power which the Apostles were to receive consist? Creating political ascendancy, yet utterly distinct from it; fertilizing intellectual power, yet differing in its essence from the activity of mere vigorous unsanctified intellect; working moral miracles, gifted (it may be) to work physical wonders, yet certainly in itself more persuasive than the miracle it was empowered to produce; intimately allied with, and the natural accompaniment of, distinct ministerial faculties, yet not necessarily so; what is this higher, this highest power, this gift of gifts, this transforming influence, which was to countersign as if from heaven what had previously been given by the Incarnate Lord on earth, and was to form out of unlettered and irresolute peasants the evangelists of the world? It was spiritual, it was personal, it was moral power. Spiritual power may be felt rather than described or analysed. It resides in or it permeates a man’s whole circle of activities; it cannot be localized, it cannot be identified exclusively with one of them. It is an unearthly beauty, whose native home is in a higher world, yet which tarries among men from age to age, since the time when the Son of God left us His example, and gave us His Spirit. It is nothing else than His spiritual presence, mantling upon His servants; they live in Him; they lose in Him something of their proper personality; they are absorbed into, they are transfigured by, a Life altogether higher than their own; His voice blends with theirs, His eye seems to lighten theirs with its sweetness and its penetration; His hand gives gentleness and decision to their acts; His heart communicates a ray of its Divine charity to their life of narrower and more stagnant affection; His soul commingles with theirs, and their life of thought, and feeling, and resolve is irradiated and braced by His. “If a man love me, he will keep my

words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” “It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”1 [Note: H. P. Liddon.] Suppose we saw an army sitting down before a granite fort, and they told us that they intended to batter it down; we might ask them, “How?” They point to a cannon-ball. Well, there is no power in that; it is heavy, but not more than half a hundred-, or perhaps a hundred-weight; if all the men in the army hurled it against the fort, they would make no impression. They say, “No; but look at the cannon.” Well, there is no power in that. A child may ride upon it, a bird may perch in its mouth; it is a machine, and nothing more. “But look at the powder.” Well, there is no power in that; a child may spill it, a sparrow may peck it. Yet this powerless powder, and powerless ball, are put into the powerless cannon, one spark of fire enters it, and then, in the twinkling of an eye, that powder is a flash of lightning, and that ball a thunderbolt which smites as if it had been sent from heaven. So is it with our Church machinery at this day: we have all the instruments necessary for pulling down strongholds, and O for the baptism of fire!1 [Note: W. Arthur, The Tongue of Fire, 309.] II The Source of Power “When the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” 1. “Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” The power is not only coincident in time with the gift of the Holy Spirit of God, it is derived from it. The literal translation is, “Ye shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you.” The connexion between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the power may be seen from Christ’s treatment of His Apostles. They had been with Him in His work, had seen His miracles, had heard His addresses, had been taught by Him in private for years, had seen Him in His passion, death, and resurrection, and were yet to witness His ascension; but they were told to tarry for this enduement. Theirs was a task for which they seemed well equipped. As eye and ear witnesses, it was theirs to go out and tell the things that they had seen and heard; yet they were not allowed to do so without this last allimportant equipment. There is one inlet of power in the life,—anybody’s life—any kind of power, just one inlet,—the Holy Spirit. He is power. He is in every one who opens his door to God. He eagerly enters every open door. He comes in by our invitation and consent. His presence within is the vital thing.2 [Note: S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks on Prayer, 9.] On one occasion it was our lot to hear a preacher of name, preaching before a great Missionary Society, from the text, “I am come to send fire upon the earth.” Choosing to interpret the fire referred to in this passage as the power which would purify and renew the earth, he at once declared the truth to be that power, and most consistently pursued his theme, without ever glancing at anything but the instrument. Afterwards, hearing the merits of the sermon discussed by some eminent ministers of his own denomination, and finding no allusion to its theology, we asked, “Did you not remark any theological defect?” No one remarked any, till the minister of some obscure country congregation broke silence, for the first time, by saying, “Yes; there was not one word in it about the Holy Spirit.”1 [Note: W. Arthur, The Tongue of Fire, 171.] 2. Why do I believe in the power of the Holy Ghost? First, because it is clearly promised me by God. God, who never fails His people, has promised power. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” When Jesus Christ went away, He said: “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not

come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” What was the Comforter to do when He came? “Tarry ye in Jerusalem till ye be clothed with power from on high. When the Holy Ghost is come upon you, ye shall receive power.” Could the Word of God be more clearly pledged to anything than this—that the Holy Ghost shall give us power? Next, let us look to see whether this promise was fulfilled to the first disciples. We see a body of men—not only Apostles, but all the first disciples, men and women just like ourselves— tarrying in Jerusalem, gathered together, weak, irresolute, timid, and perplexed. We hear the sound of a rushing mighty wind; we see tongues of fire coming down upon that body. What has happened? They have received the Spirit of power. Those timid, irresolute fishermen and peasants are turned into the world’s apostles. They always know henceforth the next thing to do; they face the world with courage and determination. Unknown, unnamed, they go out, a little body, full of the Holy Ghost, and they convert the world.

“A servant is not greater than his lord; neither one that is sent greater than he that sent him” (Joh_13:16). The way in which the Master entered upon His ministry is the way in
which the Apostles are to enter upon theirs. We say it with head uncovered, as in the presence of the supreme mystery, Jesus Christ Himself did not begin His life task until He too had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Coming up out of the Jordan at His baptism He prayed; and as He prayed, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. Then the record says: “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led in the Spirit into the wilderness.” And later, when His temptations were over, the Scripture says: “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and He taught in their synagogues.” Of Himself He said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach.” And it was in this power, too, that He cast out devils and performed His many miracles. Jesus, the only begotten of the Father, very God of very God, prepared through eternity for His task, tarried as a man until the Spirit baptized Him and He could in this power perform His part in the Temple-building plans of the Trinity.1 [Note: C. B. Keenleyside.] 3. How did the disciples receive the power of the Holy Ghost? (1) First, they waited for it: “Tarry in Jerusalem, tarry till ye be clothed with power from on high.” They did not force the hand of God, they did not get impatient, they waited— they waited upon God. When I find people giving up their prayers because they do not feel anything, when I find them disheartened because when they were confirmed they used to be full of warm aspirations, but now they have to go on their way feeling cold and dead, then I know that they have missed the first lesson. Wait for the power of the Holy Ghost. It is certain to come whether they feel it or not. It does not depend on feeling at all. If there is some one here tired, depressed about his spiritual life, let him tarry in Jerusalem; let him keep his head bowed between his knees as Elijah on the top of Carmel, and at last there will be borne on the breeze to his thirsty soul the sound of abundance of rain.2 [Note: A. F. Winnington Ingram.] Some speak of waiting for salvation as if it meant making ourselves at ease, and dismissing both effort and anxiety. Who so waits for any person, or any event? When waiting, your mind is set on a certain point; you can give yourself to nothing else. You are looking forward, and preparing; every moment of delay increases the sensitiveness of your mind as to that one thing. A servant waiting for his master, a wife waiting for the footstep of her husband, a mother waiting for her expected boy, a merchant waiting for his richly laden ship, a sailor waiting for the sight of land, a monarch waiting for tidings

of the battle: all these are cases wherein the mind is set on one object, and cannot easily give attention to another.1 [Note: W. Arthur, The Tongue of Fire, 24.] We wait, O Lord, Thy power to know, Before we forth to service go, Or else we serve in vain. We trust not human thought or might, Our souls are helpless for the fight, Until that power we gain. In solemn tarriance we seek The power that strengthens what is weak, To overcoming zeal. O Holy Ghost, equip us here; With fire our waiting souls come near, Thy mightiness to feel!— The fire that cleanseth through and through, Inspiring every nerve anew, With energy Divine! The fire that burns its conquering way Within, without; and every day Doth keep us wholly Thine. So forth to conflict, cleansed and strong, Baptized for war with godless wrong, Now send us, God of Right! Our ransomed lives for warfare take, And all thou wouldst, our spirits make, All holy in Thy sight! (2) The disciples prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit. They did not merely wish vaguely for a little more spiritual power. That is not the way to get it. They prayed with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their strength. If power is to come at all, it is the most precious thing in the world, it is a thing for which to agonize in prayer. It is the violent who take the kingdom of God by force. Let us pray, then, with all our soul—let us pray in faith, and pray all together. 4. Now consider the power of the Holy Spirit as given to the Church. There are three principles, which we should remember, incident upon the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church. (1) The gift is constant. Because the Holy Spirit is the source of power, therefore the power which was thus to arrive on a specific occasion was not to be transitory or occasional. The Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, shall “abide with you for ever.” “I am with you alway”—in your making disciples, baptizing and teaching—“even unto the end of the

world.” (2) The gift is both individual and corporate. All the announcements and instructions were delivered to the disciples as a corporate group; and were so received and acted upon. The disciples tarried in the city together, assembled in one place, and this is specified as characteristic among the circumstances under which the promise was fulfilled and applied: “They were all together in one place.” In short, our Lord did not announce the Holy Spirit only as a guide for individual hearts, essential as this part of His office is, but also as the Giver of power for the corporate witness of the Church, and for its extension. He laid down the doctrine of a Church which as a whole should be guided in her missionary operations by God the Holy Ghost, while for the execution of the details of that task, her members, each in his own grade, should receive power from the same Spirit. Jesus Christ made men before He made the Church. Jesus created and concentrated strong, personal forces among His personal followers, before He gave to the disciples the cup of communion, and ordained them as His Apostles to gather congregations of believers in His name. In Christ’s work the inspired personality came first, and afterwards the New Testament and the Church. A true communion, or saved society of men and women, was the end sought from the beginning by Him who came preaching the Gospel of the kingdom; but the method of Jesus was personal influence, and the inspiration of chosen personalities by His Spirit. The power of the Church consists in its fulness of personal forces. Your personal power for good may be multiplied many fold in the organized life of the Church; but personal powers are the vital units which, multiplied together, constitute that organic whole which is the living body of Christ.1 [Note: Newman Smyth, Christian Facts and Forces, 163.] (3) It is a gift once for all, and cannot be repeated. On this day the promise was fulfilled, the Holy Ghost came, and the new era was inaugurated. It was not a step which could be repeated. We talk of new Pentecosts, but it is an inaccurate phrase. The fact of Pentecost has taken place once for all, and we are here, not to wait for new Pentecosts, but to believe in the one which God established. We may drink, as individuals, of the stream then set flowing, or we may neglect it; but there can be no second stream. We may stir up, as a Church, the Spirit which all the Churches have received, but if we neglect it there is no new Pentecost. That the new era had been on that day inaugurated became instantly evident. The Apostles, who had been very slow to understand either the essence or the nature of Christ’s work, or the current of God’s purposes, immediately were found masters of the application of the Old Testament to every part of their duty, masters of Christ’s system, laying down the principles of conversion, communion, discipline; even found full of insight into the meaning of God in history, and the scope of His future purpose. As scattered fragments of iron filings are instantly ranged in order and charged with force when a great magnet is brought over them, so the group of wavering adherents, of different temperaments and aims, became in a moment a coherent and disciplined band, instinct with the mind and the force of their ascended Master, by the power of that Holy Spirit whom He had said that He would send. In the Church there ever is, living as an actual fact, to be seen of men, the Christian life, i.e. a character seen in actual life and work, with marks clear and distinct—a character which appeals to all as the highest and noblest life that man can live. There it is with many features, infinite variety, yet one and the same through the ages, governed by the same dominant and deeply fixed principles which make it what it is. It is not an imagination, but a real thing, which we can trace back to the time of Christ, and which we can trace no further.1 [Note: M. B. Williamson.]

III The Use of Power “Ye shall be my witnesses.” The expression which St. Luke represents our Lord as employing, simple as it is, is full of meaning. It has a history. In the second part of Isaiah, the prophet draws a magnificent picture of a great assize (Isa_43:9 ff; cf. Isa_44:8 ff.). Jehovah puts Himself on His trial. His Claims to sovereignty become the subject of a universal controversy. On the one side all the nations are assembled together; on the other, Israel, now chastened and restored—Jehovah’s sons brought “from far and his daughters from the end of the earth.” The nations are challenged to produce their witnesses and to sustain the pretensions of their gods. There is silence; the appeal is unanswered. Then Jehovah turns to Israel, who has known Him. “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen.… Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God.” The great assize is now no longer a prophetic vision. Henceforth it is to be wrought out in the daily struggles and triumphs of the Christian Church. The supreme messenger of Jehovah is renewing the ancient challenge. Israel after the flesh by their rejection of Him has proved unworthy of the prerogative once theirs. They are no longer Jehovah’s witnesses to the nations. They have rather passed over into the ranks of those who must receive the testimony of others. The Apostles, the representatives and prophets of the new Israel of God, are bidden to take up the abdicated office, and, themselves the first recipients of a final salvation, to be Jehovah’s witnesses to all the world. Thus Christ’s parting words seem to be designed to mark alike the continuity of revelation and the passing away of the old order.

“Ye shall be my witnesses.” Think of all that this word means. What is a witness? The light we need here is light that we have by our common use of the Anglicized form of this Greek word “martyr.” “Ye shall be martyrs.” I do not wish to suggest that Jesus meant necessarily that these men would all die for Him. We have come to use that word “martyr” as referring only to such as seal their testimony with their blood. I am not suggesting that we should abandon that particular use of the word, for it is a great and glorious use of the word to-day. The men who sealed their testimony with their blood were martyrs, but they were martyrs before they died. Smithfield’s fires never made martyrs: they revealed martyrs. Persecution never makes a martyr: it finds him out and wraps him in the glory of flame that we may see him for evermore.1 [Note: G. Campbell
Morgan.] We must consider our Lord’s words in both their narrower and their wider application: (i.) as they relate in an especial sense to the Apostles, and (ii.) as they relate to each individual member of the Church. i. The Apostles as Witnesses 1. The charge expresses their Master’s confidence in the Apostles in terms which could hardly be broader or more trustful. “Ye shall be my witnesses,” it runs—my witnesses here where you are known, and in neighbouring lands, and then everywhere unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Observe the phrase, “my witnesses,” not merely witnesses unto Me, but witnesses chosen by Me to take My place, to represent Me when I am not there to represent Myself. The trust and confidence of our Lord is almost awful in its absolute reality. He left no building, no writing, no material relics worthy of mention. He borrowed a room in a friend’s house for His Last Supper and for the meetings of His

little company. He borrowed the outward rite of one of the great sacraments from natural religion and the other from common life. His own special prayer has many points of contact with forms that existed before it. The number of the Apostles was apparently suggested by that of the tribes of Israel. Beyond these main foundations He left little that was definite, though there were indications that other existing usages of the religious life around Him were approved by Him and stamped with His recommendation. He left it to His Apostles and their successors to combine and to develop these hints and beginnings and give them form and substance, but clearly under reservation that all such things should take a secondary place in His plan of salvation. Everything not specially ordered by Him in detail was clearly subject to a change in detail, and everything even when so ordered was subordinate to the supreme duty of bringing His Person and Life before the world. That was the great commission finally impressed on the Apostles. He did not obscure their duty to be ministers of His Word and Sacraments, to be preachers of the Gospel, to be pastors of men, and to bring men to God. He had revealed all this in many ways, and set it forth in brilliant and definite outlines. But the dominant thought is surely the last: it is the duty of the Church above all things else, both in its ministers and in its members, to bear witness to Christ, His Person, His Love, His Presence. With this charge ringing in their ears, the Apostles set out to begin their work. We cannot doubt that it is to be the perpetually recurring keynote to which the whole music of the Church is to be attuned to the end. 2. The Apostles are the links between Christ and Christendom. All we know of Him is through the impression produced on them. The last year of His ministry was almost entirely devoted to their training. The medium is singularly colourless; of themselves personally, with the exception of St. Peter, we know next to nothing. The sons of Zebedee appear as zealous partisans, and interesting notices of the hesitating Thomas and the practical Philip are given several times in the Fourth Gospel; but otherwise they are but honoured names—their origin, their ministry, their martyrdoms, almost a blank. We must not look to them primarily as preachers, organizers, writers, but we must look to them rather in their character as witnesses. Dr. Frank Gunsaulus, of Chicago, has written in one of his books a sentence to this effect: “True statesmanship consists in discovering the way in which God is going and then moving things out of the way for Him.” And I believe to-day that what we need supremely is to come to a re-discovery of the way in which God is going; and in order to do that I personally feel that there is nothing more valuable than that we should return to the sources, to the beginnings of things—not that all the methods of the Spirit were exhausted in the early days, but that in the record of what then happened we have clearly defined for us the line of the Spirit’s Operations and the direction of God.1 [Note: G. Campbell Morgan.] ii. The Witness of us all The duty of being witnesses to Christ is not laid on one order of men alone, it is laid upon all. Although unquestionably, in a special degree, the injunction may be held as addressed to the Apostles and to those who bear office in the Church, the humblest members are not excluded from its scope. Not only does the gifted and lamented Genevan professor, Gaston Frommel, say: “This declaration of our Lord established the true notion of the Christian ministry, lay as well as pastoral,” but Canon Liddon is equally emphatic: “The Apostles standing before their departing Lord impersonate not merely the ministry, but the Church; and Jesus in His last words on earth speaks not merely to the clerical order, He bequeaths a legacy of glory and of suffering to the millions of Christendom: ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto me.’ ”

In some religious bodies it is deemed incumbent on every member to relate his own experiences. He is not admitted unless he bear testimony to the fact that he has given his heart to Christ, and opportunities are periodically allowed for him to renew his testimony, to express the pleasure with which he feels his faith to be growing, or the distress with which he feels it to be decaying. From such meetings many have gone strengthened and confirmed, more ready to do and to suffer for their Lord. Such meetings are not altogether in accord with the traditions of our Scottish piety; the reticence of the Scottish character shrinks from uttering in Company the secrets of the innermost heart, a reticence so extreme and so perverted as in some districts to keep back from the Lord’s Table the most devout and earnest Christians till old age has come upon them. We can all see that public confessions of faith and devotion may be worth little, may be the result of momentary emotion rather than of settled principle, but it may be questioned whether in Scotland we do not carry our concealment of religious feeling too far. To speak glibly on a subject may indicate only superficial acquaintance; never to speak about it at all is not an absolute assurance that the acquaintance is genuine and profound. It may be absurd and blameable to talk volubly of spiritual themes to which we are personally strangers, but to refrain from utterance is at times to suppress a truth which, if it had been allowed to grow, would have been of inestimable value in shaping our own lives and the lives of others round about us. The vain repetition of pious phrases may be easily learned by the shallow and the hypocritical, but the careful abstention from every phrase that is not wholly secular will not induce our companions to take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. The chief service which, two hundred years ago, Joseph Addison rendered to religion was not so much by his essays in deliberate defence of Christianity, as by the graceful satire with which “he fairly laughed men out of that false modesty which made them ashamed of owning themselves on the Christian side,” e.g. one who was “long suspected of being a little pious, though no man ever hid his vice with greater caution than he did his virtue”; another, the well-bred man who is obliged to “conceal any serious sentiment and appear a greater libertine than he is, that he may keep himself in countenance among the men of more”; another, the master of the house who is “so very modest a man that he has not the confidence to say grace at his own table.” It is possible that the shafts of the gentle ridicule of Addison might find as suitable targets to-day as they did two hundred years ago.1 [Note: P. M‘Adam Muir.] 1. It is the privilege of each believer everywhere, in addition to the cleansing in the water of Baptism, to receive also such a baptism of the Holy Ghost as will endue and equip for service. Power in service, or in witnessing, comes, as we have seen, from the Holy Ghost. “Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be my witnesses.” The form in which the power shall manifest itself is not for us to decide. “The Spirit divideth to each one severally as he will.” But of this we may be sure, that if we have allowed God to choose our work, the power or gift so bestowed will exactly match the task that is before us. If God has picked us out to bear burdens, hew wood or stone, act as overseers, or as skilled artificers, He will then likewise divide to each in baptizing with the Spirit just that power needful for the work required. As there are diversities of tasks, so there are diversities of gifts, but the one Spirit. However it was spoken, the word was spoken suitably in every case. It might be expository or controversial in its nature, it might be by exhortation or reproof, according as the case demanded. In Barnabas it was exhortation; in Paul, reproof; in Apollos, exposition; in Peter, controversy. In Paul, reproof at one time; and at another, controversy, and argument, and exposition. In Peter, exposition, and controversy, and argument, and appeal, alternately. The occasion shaped the demand made, and so the

utterance. The power of the Spirit impelled these men to speak, but enabled them to speak suitably.2 [Note: T. Adamson, The Spirit of Power, 41.] There has come to you some bit of a call to service, to teach a class, or to write a special letter, or speak a word, or take up something needing to be done. And you hesitate. You think that you cannot. You are not fit, you think; not qualified. The thing to do is to do it. If the call is clear, go ahead. Need is one of the strong calling voices of God. It is always safe to respond. Put out your foot in the answering swing, even though you cannot see clearly the place to put it down. God attends to that part. Power comes as we go.1 [Note: S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks on Service, 37.] 2. The witness must also be suitable to time and circumstances. It is now acknowledged that the twentieth-century Christian can think only the thought of the twentieth century; hence it is a delusion to think that we men of to-day can hold quite the same belief as the Christian of the first century or the Christian of the sixteenth century. Mr. A. J. Balfour has done good service in making it plain that Religious Knowledge is subject to the same change and development as all other knowledge. “The fact that theological thought follows the laws which govern the evolution of all other thought, that it changes from age to age, largely as regards the relative emphasis given to its various elements, not inconsiderably as regards the substance of those elements themselves, is a fact written legibly across the pages of ecclesiastical history.” Bearing this truism in mind, we shall understand that the measure of the present vitality of our religion is its power to readjust its conceptions, and to readapt its institutions to their environment. The religious teacher of to-day must be ready to bring out of his treasury things new as well as old; he must never be weary of translating into the current idiom the thoughts of old, but he must also be ever ready to welcome the fresh voices of later wisdom. And while in no way disparaging the partial formulæ in which men of old expressed their faith, we must beware lest we regard our own view of truth as final. Matthew Arnold well expressed the modern spirit when he wrote: “An age which has its face towards the future, and in which men are full of plans for the welfare of the world, is not an age that has lost its faith. Its temper of mind is constructive; it is eager for new institutions, keen for new ideas, and has already a half-belief in a future in which all things will be new.” With these hopeful words ringing in our ears, let us attempt to face the religious problems of the present age.2 [Note: G. F. Terry.] Not clinging to some ancient saw; Not master’d by some modern term; Not swift nor slow to change, but firm: And in its season bring the law. Meet is it Chances should control Our being, lest we rust in ease: We are all changed by still degrees, All—but the basis of the soul. 3. The life of witnessing is not one of easy self-complacency, still less of morbid emotionalism, but of constant unobtrusive earnestness amid the commonplace work of the world. To witness truly we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only,” we must live lustrous lives, we must be valiant for the truth and wrestle bravely with individual and national sin, we must strengthen the feeble knees and encourage fainting

hearts. When some one asked Sir Joshua Reynolds how long it had taken him to paint a certain picture, he answered, “All my life.” “If I omit one day’s practice,” Rubinstein is reported to have said, “I know it the next day, the critics know it the day after, and the public the day after that.” If, then, it be true that— The heights by great men reached and kept Were not attained by sudden night; But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night; how is it to be supposed that it can be otherwise with great Christians? Our Lord bids us “strive to enter in at the strait gate,” literally, to agonize to do it; and St. Paul declares: “By the grace of God I am what I am,” yet immediately adds, “and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all.” So in this matter of witnessing he will succeed best who takes most pains.1 [Note: W. A. N. Hall.] The man who witnesses for the Master to-day has not to face outward danger or brave a martyr’s death. But with the age of persecution the difficulties of the Christian life have not passed away. In maintaining in the unambitious routine of humble duties a spirit of Christian cheerfulness and contentment—in the constant reference to lofty ends amid lowly trials—there may be evinced faith as strong as that of the man who dies with the song of martyrdom on his lips. It is a great thing to love Christ so dearly as to be ready to die for Him: but it is often a thing not less great to be ready to live for Him. To do this effectively demands not a little effort on our part. Those who have the best right to speak have been unanimous in their testimony that nothing really worthy of attainment in art, in science, or in the things of the spirit, is to be accomplished without effort.1 [Note: W. A. N. Hall.] So he died for his faith. That is fine. More than the most of us do. But stay. Can you add to that line That he lived for it, too? It is easy to die. Men have died For a wish or a whim— From bravado or passion or pride. Was it hard for him? But to live: every day to live out All the truth that he dreamt, While his friends met his conduct with doubt, And the world with contempt. Was it thus that he plodded ahead, Never turning aside?

Then we’ll talk of the life that he led. Never mind how he died. 4. Two things remain. In all witnessing it is essential (1) that the subject of the witness be Christ, and (2) that the witness be in the Holy Spirit. (1) The subject of all our witness must be the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the very last command of the Lord. He Stands, as He utters it, with His feet upon the steps of the heavenly throne. As all through His earthly ministry, so now, almost from the place of bliss itself, “He commends Himself.” He sends His followers out into the world on purpose, as their work of works, to bear a testimony. And that testimony is to be borne, first and last, to Himself. Man’s immeasurable need is to be met by telling man, as only those who personally know can tell, about the Son of God and Man, the one Name of Life, Christ Jesus the Lord. It is true that the Revised Version gives us one change of rendering here which is to be observed. Instead of “witnesses unto me,” it reads, “my witnesses”; and this is a closer rendering of the Greek of St. Luke, or at least a rendering more likely to be quite close. Yet the difference, while we notice it, is not such as to negative, but rather to include, the meaning of the Authorized Version.1 [Note: H. C. G. Moule.] There is an interesting story of Doré, the artist, that once, crossing the Italian frontier, he had mislaid his passport and was called upon to prove his identity. This he did by taking a sheet of common paper and a piece of charcoal, and tracing the homely, manly features of Victor Emmanuel. The officers knew that only Doré” could draw like that. Challenged by the world as we are, is it not for us to trace, here and now, on the rough surface of our common lives, with only such instruments as our ordinary circumstances afford, the character of our King? “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.”2 [Note: C. C. Albertson.] (2) The witness must be in the Holy Spirit. Without the gift and presence of the Holy Spirit our witness is bound to be a failure and a disappointment. Let none of us be content with a lower spiritual experience than God is willing to give us. As long as we keep our witness within the bounds of what we can obviously succeed in, we shall accomplish little, but when in abandonment of self, and in reliance on the Holy Spirit, we attempt great things for God, our success will exceed our highest hopes. Wanting is—what? Summer redundant, Blueness abundant, —Where is the blot? Beamy the world, yet a blank all the same, —Framework which waits for a picture to frame: What of the leafage, what of the flower? Roses embowering with nought they embower! Come then, complete incompletion, O comer, Pant through the blueness, perfect the summer! Breathe but one breath Rose-beauty above, And all that was death Grows life, grows love, Grows love!3 [Note: Browning, Dramatic Idylls, 167.]

8. VWS, “Unto me (µοι)
The best texts read µου, of me; or, as Rev., my witnesses. Samaria Formerly they had been commanded not to enter the cities of the Samaritans (Mat_ 10:5). 9. SPURGEON, "In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ, look at his example. He is always witnessing: by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain's brow. He is witnessing night and day; his mighty prayers are as vocal to God as his daily services. He witnesses under all circumstances; Scribes and Pharisees cannot shut his mouth; even before Pilate he witnesses a good confession. He witnesses so clearly, and distinctly that there is no mistake in him. Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom-not as the muddy creek, of which you only see the surface-but clear and transparent, so that your heart's love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not say, "I am true:" be true. Boast not of integrity, but be upright. So shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it. Never, for fear of feeble man, restrain your witness. Your lips have been warmed with a coal from off the altar; let them speak as like heaven-touched lips should do. "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand." Watch not the clouds, consult not the wind-in season and out of season witness for the Saviour, and if it shall come to pass that for Christ's sake and the gospel's you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord; and joy also in this-that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with his Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your witnessing is to be to your Master's glory. 10. SPURGEON, "If you are a disciple of Christ, you are not to look into the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power; you are to receive the Spirit of God, and then there is something for you to be. Did you expect me to say that then there is something for you to do? Well, there is a great deal for you to do; but the text says, "Ye shall be witnesses"; not "Ye shall act as witnesses" only, but "Ye shall be witnesses." Every true Christian should, in his own proper person, be a witness for his Lord. "Here I stand," says he, "myself a proof of what my Lord can do. I, his servant, saved by him, and renewed by him, washed in his blood, it is I who, while I live, whether I speak or not, am a monument of his love, a trophy of his grace." "Ye shall be Witnesses unto me." Dear friends, we are to be witnesses of what Christ has done. If we have seen Christ, if we believe in Christ, let us tell it honestly. These apostles had a great deal to tell. They had been with Christ in private; they had seen his miracles; they had heard his choicest and more secret words; they had to go and bear witness to it all. And you, who have been let into the secrets of Christ, you who have communed with him more closely than others, you have much to tell. Tell it all, for whatever he has said to you in the closet you are to proclaim upon the housetop. You are to witness what you have seen, and tasted, and handled, concerning your Lord.

You are to witness to what he has revealed, to make known to others the doctrine that he preached, or taught by his apostles. Mind that you do not tell any other. You are not sent to be "an original thinker", to make up a gospel as you go along; you are a witness, that is all, a retailer of Christ's truth, and you miss the end of your life unless you perpetually witness, and witness, and witness to what you know of him, and to what you have learnt from him. Let this be your prayer and your resolve,— "Give me thy strength, O God of power! Then let winds blow, or thunders roar, Thy faithful witness will I be: 'Tis fixed: I can do all through thee." 11. CALVIN, " You shall receive power. Our Savior Christ doth here call them back as well unto the promise of God as also unto his commandment, which was the readiest way to bridle their curiosity. Curiosity doth rise almost always either of idleness or else of distrust; distrust is cured by meditating upon the promises of God. And his commandments do tell us how we ought to occupy ourselves and employ our studies. Therefore, he commandeth his disciples to wait for the promise of God, and to be diligent in executing their office whereunto God had called them. And in the mean season he noteth 27 their great hastiness, in that they did preposterously catch at those gifts which were proper unto the Holy Spirit, when as they were not as yet endued with the same. Neither did they take the right way herein, in that being called to go on warfare, they desire (omitting their labor) to lake their ease in their inn. 28 Therefore, when he saith, you shall receive power, he admonisheth them of their imbecility, lest they follow before the time those things whereunto they cannot attain. It may be read very well either way, You shall receive the power of the Spirit; or, The Spirit coming upon you; yet the latter way seemeth to be the better, because it doth more fully declare their defect trod want, until such time as the Spirit should come upon them. You shall be my witnesses He correcteth two errors of theirs in this one sentence. For, first, he showeth that they must fight before they can triumph; and, secondly, that the nature of Christ’s kingdom was of another sort than they judged it to have been. Therefore, saith he, You shall be my witnesses; that is, the husbandman must first work before he can reap his fruits. Hence, nay we learn that we must first study how we may come unto the kingdom of God, before we begin to dispute 29 about the state of the life to come. Many there be which do curiously inquire what manner [of] blessedness that shall be which they shall enjoy after they shall be received into the everlasting kingdom of heaven, not having any care how they may come to enjoy the same. 30 They reason concerning the quality of the life to come, which they shall have with Christ; but they never think that they must be partakers of his death, that they may live together with him, (2 Timothy 2:11.) Let every man, therefore, apply himself in his work which he hath in hand; let us fight stoutly under Christ’s banner; let us go forward manfully and courageously 31 in our vocation, and God will give fruit in due time (and tide.) There followeth another correction, when he saith, that they must be his witnesses. For hereby he meant to drive out of his disciples’ minds that fond and false imagination which they had conceived of the terrestrial kingdom, because he showeth unto them briefly, that his kingdom consisteth in the preaching of the gospel. There was no cause, therefore, why they should dream of riches, 32 of external principality, or any other earthly thing, whilst they heard that Christ did then reign when as he subdueth unto himself (all the whole) world by the preaching of the gospel. Whereupon it followeth that he doth reign spiritually, and not after any worldly manner. And that which the apostles had conceived of the carnal kingdom proceeded from the common error of their nation; neither was it marvel if they were deceived herein. 33 For when we measure the same with our

understanding, what else can we conceive but that which is gross and terrestrial? Hereupon it cometh, that, like brute beasts, we only desire that which is commodious for our flesh, and therefore we rather catch that which is present. Wherefore, we see that those which held opinion, that Christ should reign as a king in this world a thousand years 34 fell into the like folly. Hereupon, also, they applied all such prophecies as did describe the kingdom of Christ figuratively by the similitude of earthly kingdoms unto the commodity of their flesh; whereas, notwithstanding, it was God’s purpose to lift up their minds higher. As for us, let us learn to apply our minds to hear the gospel preached, lest we be entangled in like errors, which prepareth a place in our hearts for the kingdom of Christ. 35 In all Judea Here he showeth, first, that they must not work for the space of one day only, while that he assigneth the whole world unto them, in which they must publish the doctrine of the gospel. Furthermore, he refuteth 36 the opinion which they had conceived of Israel. They supposed those to be Israelites only which were of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. Christ testifieth that they must gather thereunto all Samaria; which, although they were nigh in situation, yet were they far distant in mind and heart. He showeth that all other regions far distant, and also profane, must be united unto the holy people, that they may be all partakers of one and the same grace. It is evident (John 4:9) how greatly the Jews did detest the Samaritans. Christ commanded that (the wall of separation being broken down) they be both made one body, (Ephesians 2:14,) that his kingdom may be erected everywhere. By naming Judea and Jerusalem, which the apostles had tried 37 to be full of most deadly enemies, he foretelleth them of the great business and trouble which was prepared for them, that he may cause them to cease to think upon this triumph which they hoped to have been so nigh at hand. 38 Neither could they be a little afraid to come before so cruel enemies, more to inflame their rage and fury. And here we see how he giveth the former place unto the Jews, because they are, as it were, the first-begotten, (Exodus 4:22.) Notwithstanding, he calleth those Gentiles one with another, which were before strangers from the hope of salvation, (Ephesians 2:11.) Hereby we learn, that the gospel was preached everywhere by the manifest commandment of Christ, that it might also come unto us. 12. Richard Longenecker summarizes Acts 1:8 observing that it is the mandate to witness that stands as the theme for the whole of Acts is explicitly set out. It comes as a direct commission from Jesus Himself—in fact, as Jesus’ last word before His ascension and, therefore, as one that is final and conclusive. All that follows in Acts is shown to be the result of Jesus’ own intent and the fulfillment of His express word. This commission lays an obligation on all Christians and comes to us as a gift with a promise. It concerns a person, a power, and a program—the Person of Jesus, on Whose authority the church acts and Who is the object of its witness; the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the sine qua non for the mission; and a program that begins at Jerusalem, moves out to “all Judea and Samaria,” and extends “to the ends of the earth.” The Christian church, according to Acts, is a missionary church that responds obediently to Jesus’ commission, acts on Jesus’ behalf in the extension of his ministry, focuses its proclamation of the kingdom of God in its witness to Jesus, is guided and empowered by the self-same Spirit that directed and supported Jesus’ ministry, and follows a program whose guidelines for outreach have been set by Jesus himself.

13. RAY STEDMAN, "Now what kind of power? This is a most wonderful thing! It is resurrection power. It is the power of a risen Lord, resurrection power, a different kind of power. It is not demonstrative or spectacular; it is quiet power. It is the kind of power that never makes any sound, any demonstration. Most kinds of power that we know about make some kind of sound -- they hum, or buzz, or throb, or pulsate, or pound, or explode, or something. But this kind of power does not, it is absolutely quiet. But, though it is quiet, it is irresistible. There is no way to oppose it, no way to overthrow it, no way to stop it. Every obstacle thrown in its path is but turned into an opportunity to advance. You can find many demonstrations of that in the Gospels and church history. Today some of us are watching a demonstration of this in our local scene where certain attempts are being made to resist the working of the Holy Spirit. Every attempt thus made is but opening the door wider, for this is resurrection power at work. It is a glorious kind of power. It does not need any props, does not require outside help, and does not borrow anything from the world. It does not even need a cup of coffee to get started in the morning! And it works best in a cemetery. It operates most visibly where everything is dull and lifeless, and nothing is happening. Anyone who is operating on resurrection power can come in and change the whole scene. Resurrection power changes lives from within and not from without. It does not start on the outside, with the environment, or the circumstances, or the external situation; it starts within, and works out, to change the environment ultimately. And it does not separate or divide; it harmonizes, it heals, it draws together and breaks down "middle walls of partition" (Ephesians 2:14 KJV) that have been standing sometimes for centuries. It batters them down and brings people together, in harmony. It is a totally different kind of power. That is what you receive when you receive the Holy Spirit. Now, says Jesus, it will not result in propaganda, either, but witnessing. You shall not be propagandists, but "my witnesses," he said. Christians are not like salesmen going out to peddle a product, nor are we recruiters, going around trying to get people to join our religious club. When the church becomes that it has always become a false thing and lost its power. But this has a personal note about it. Jesus says, "You will talk about me, because you will have experienced me. What you will talk about will be what I have done for you." That is always what a witness talks about. "You won't be talking about yourselves," he says, "you will be talking about me." The mark of the false church is that it loves to talk about itself. These early Christians never witnessed about the church at all; they witnessed about the Lord, what he could do, how we would work, what a fantastic person he was, how amazing was his power, what he could do in human hearts. The twentieth-century church is too often talking about what the church is, how great it is, what it ought to be doing. It has its eyes focused on itself. But that was not true of the early church. Its eyes were focused on its Lord, and it was a witness to him.

9After he said this, he was taken up before their

very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

1. Barnes, “While they beheld - While they saw him. It was of importance to state that circumstance, and to state it distinctly. It is not affirmed in the New Testament that they “saw him rise” from the dead, because the evidence of that fact could be better established by their seeing him after he was risen. But the truth of his “ascension to heaven” could not be confirmed in that manner. Hence, it was so arranged that he should ascend in open day, and in the presence of his apostles; and that not when they were asleep, or were inattentive to what was occurring, but when they were engaged in a conversation that’ would fix the attention, and even when they were looking upon him. Had Jesus vanished secretly, or had he disappeared in the night, the apostles would have been amazed and confounded; perhaps they would even have doubted whether they had not been deceived. But when they saw him leave them in this manner, they could not doubt that he had ascended to heaven, and that God approved his work, and would carry it forward. This event was exceedingly important: (1) It was a confirmation of the truth of the Christian religion. (2) It enabled the apostles to state distinctly where the Lord Jesus was, and at once directed their affections and their thoughts away from the earth, and opened their eyes on the glory of the scheme of religion they were to establish. If their Saviour was in heaven, it settled the question about the nature of his kingdom. It was clear that it was not designed to be a temporal kingdom. The reasons why it was proper that the Lord Jesus should ascend to heaven rather than remain on earth were: (1) That he had “finished” the work which God gave him to do “on the earth” Joh_17:4; Joh_19:30, and it was proper that he should be received back to the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, Joh_17:4-5; Phi_2:6, Phi_2:9-10. (2) It was proper that he should ascend in order that the Holy Spirit might come down and perform his part of the work of redemption. Jesus, by his personal ministry, as a man, could be but in one place; the Holy Spirit could be in all places, and could apply the work to all people. See note on Joh_16:7. (3) A part of the work of Christ was yet to be performed in heaven. That was the work of intercession. The high priest of the Jews not only made an atonement, but also presented the blood of sacrifice before the mercy-seat, as the priest of the people, Lev_ 16:11-14. This was done to typify the entrance of the great high priest of our profession into the heavens, Heb_9:7-8, Heb_9:11-12. The work which he performs there is the work of intercession, Heb_7:25. This is properly the work which an advocate performs in a court for his client. As applicable to Christ, the meaning is, that he, as our great high priest, still manages our cause in heaven; secures our interests; obtains for us grace and mercy. His work, in this respect, consists in his appearing in the presence of God for us Heb_9:24; in his presenting the merits of his blood Heb_9:12, Heb_9:14; and in securing the continuance of the mercy which has been bestowed on us, and which is still needful for our welfare. The Lord Jesus also ascended that he might assume and exercise the office of King in the immediate seat of power. All worlds were made subject to him for the welfare of the church; and it was needful that he should be solemnly invested with that power in the presence of God as the reward of his earthly toils. 1Co_15:25, “he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet.” Compare Eph_1:20-22; Phi_

2:6-11. A cloud received him - He entered into the region of the clouds, and was hid from their view. But two others of our race have been taken bodily from earth to heaven. Enoch was transported (Gen_5:24; compare Heb_11:5); and Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind, 2Ki_2:11. It is remarkable that when the return of the Saviour is mentioned, it is uniformly said that he will return in the clouds, Act_1:11; Mat_24:30; Mat_26:64; Mar_13:26; Rev_1:7; Dan_7:13. The clouds are an emblem of sublimity and grandeur, and perhaps this is all that is intended by these expressions, Deu_4:11; 2Sa_22:12; Psa_ 97:2; Psa_104:3.

2. Clarke, “He was taken up - He was speaking face to face with them, and while they beheld he was taken up; he began to ascend to heaven, and they continued to look after him till a cloud received him out of their sight - till he had ascended above the region of the clouds, by the density of which all farther distinct vision was prevented. These circumstances are very remarkable, and should be carefully noted. They render insupportable the theory that states, “that our Lord did not ascend to heaven; that his being taken up signifies his going into some mountain, the top of which was covered with clouds, or thick vapours; and that the two men in white garments were two priests, or Levites, who simply informed the disciples of his revisiting them again at some future time.” One would suppose that an opinion of this kind could hardly ever obtain credit among people professing Christianity; and yet it is espoused by some men of considerable learning and ingenuity. But the mere letter of the text will be ever sufficient for its total confutation. He that believes the text cannot receive such a miserable comment. Foreign critics and divines take a most sinful latitude on subjects of this kind.

3. Gill, “And when he had spoken these things,.... That the times and seasons were
not to be known by them, but to be kept a secret by the Father: that they should tarry at Jerusalem, and in a few days be baptized with the Holy Ghost, and receive such power, abilities, strength, and courage thereby, as to bear a noble testimony for Christ, not only there, but in all the world; and when he had given them a fresh commission, and told them where they should go, what they should preach, and what miracles they should perform, and blessed them, While they be held; all the Oriental versions, add, "him"; that is Christ, while they looked wistly at him, being attentive to what he said to them, so that they were not asleep; nor did Christ become invisible to them, or disappear before his ascension, but was visible to them in it; hence they were eyewitnesses of it: he was taken up. Luke in his Gospel says, "carried up": very likely by angels, since these not only attended him in his ascension, but are the chariots of the Lord, in which he went up to heaven; see Psa_68:17 nor is this at all inconsistent with his proper deity, or that divine power he had of elevating himself, which he could do without the assistance of others; but this makes for the glory of his majesty, And a cloud received him out of their sight; which was done partly for the same purpose, to add to the grandeur and magnificence of Christ's ascension; and partly to check the curiosity of the disciples, and prevent their gazing any more at him: and it may be that this, cloud was no other than a number of angels that appeared in this form; just

as Elijah was taken up to heaven by angels, who appeared in the form of horses and chariots of fire; and the rather this may be the sense here, since it is certain, that there was a large number of angels which attended Christ at his ascension; and by whom he was then seen, Psa_68:17 whereas, if these are not intended by the cloud, no more than two are here taken notice of, and these not as going along with Christ, but staying behind to converse with his disciples; to which may be added, that Christ was "received" by this cloud which descended to meet him, and joining him, escorted him to heaven: at least it may be thought, if it was a real cloud, that there was a multitude of angels in it, which accompanied him to the heavenly regions; for it can hardly be thought that a multitude of the heavenly host should descend at his birth, and sing glory to God upon his coming into this world; and not as large a number attend him with shouts and acclamations, at his going out of it, when he had done his work he came about, and was ascending to his God and Father, to take his place at his right hand on his throne; see Psa_47:5. The Ethiopic version adds, "and he ascended to heaven".

4. Henry, “ Having left these instructions with them, he leaves them (Act_1:9): When he had spoken these things, and had said all that he had to say, he blessed them (so we were told, Luk_24:50); and while they beheld him, and had their eye fixed upon him, receiving his blessing, he was gradually taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. We have here Christ's ascending on high; not fetched away, as Elijah was, with a chariot of fire and horses of fire, but rising to heaven, as he rose from the grave, purely by his own power, his body being now, as the bodies of the saints will be at the resurrection, a spiritual body, and raised in power and incorruption. Observe, 1. He began his ascension in the sight of his disciples, even while they beheld. They did not see him come up out of the grave, because they might see him after he had risen, which would be satisfaction enough; but they saw him go up towards heaven, and had actually their eye upon him with so much care and earnestness of mind that they could not be deceived. It is probable that he did not fly swiftly up, but moved upwards gently, for the further satisfaction of his disciples. 2. He vanished out of their sight, in a cloud, either a thick cloud, for God said that he would dwell in the thick darkness; or a bright cloud, to signify the splendour of his glorious body. It was a bright cloud that overshadowed him in his transfiguration, and most probably this was so, Mat_17:5. This cloud received him, it is probable, when he had gone about as far from the earth as the clouds generally are; yet it was not such a spreading cloud as we commonly see, but such as just served to enclose him. Now he made the clouds his chariot, Psa_104:3. God had often come down in a cloud; now he went up in one. Dr. Hammond thinks that the clouds receiving him here were the angels receiving him; for the appearance of angels is ordinarily described by a cloud, comparing Exo_25:22 with Lev_16:2. By the clouds there is a sort of communication kept up between the upper and lower world; in them the vapours are sent up from the earth, and the dews sent down from heaven. Fitly therefore does he ascend in a cloud who is the Mediator between God and man, by whom God's mercies come down upon us and our prayers come up to him. This was the last that was seen of him. The eyes of a great many witnesses followed him into the cloud; and, if we would know what became of him then, we may find (Dan_7:13), That one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him in the clouds as he came near before him. 5. Jamison, “while they beheld, he was taken up — See on Luk_24:50-53. Lest it should be thought He had disappeared when they were looking in some other direction,

and so was only concluded to have gone up to heaven, it is here expressly said that “while they were looking He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” So Elijah, “If thou see me when I am taken from thee” (2Ki_2:10); “And Elisha saw it” (Act_1:12). (See on Luk_9:32.)

6. RWP, “As they were looking (blepontōn autōn). Genitive absolute. The present
participle accents the fact that they were looking directly at Jesus. He was taken up (epe4rthe4). First aorist passive indicative of epairō, old and common verb meaning to lift up. In Luk_24:51 we have “he was borne up” (anephereto) and in Act_1:2, Act_1:11; 1Ti_3:6 “was received up” (anelēmpthē). Received (hupelaben). Second aorist active indicative of hupolambanō, literally here “took under him.” He seemed to be supported by the cloud. “In glory” Paul adds in 1Ti_ 3:16. Out of their sight (apo tōn ophthalmōn autōn). From their eyes (apo with ablative case).

7. SBC, “Unlike the feebleness of good wishes on men’s dying lips, the strong benediction of the Prince of Life commands and confers a blessing, while from His radiant face and form, and down from His uplifted hands, there rains into the souls of the eleven a rain of gracious influences, of hope and courage and content and gladness. Then, like a thing of rarer quality, which by its own upward virtue ascends through the grosser atmosphere below, His blessed body rose with a still and slow and stately movement into the pure bright upper air. Nor stayed; but followed by the fixed gaze of the amazed men, rose on, until, still raining blessings down, He reached the region where white clouds rest. Then suddenly there swept beneath His feet a cloud that shut him from their envious eyes. This was no time for idle, melancholy despondencies, that root themselves in the past—for profitless longings after that which is not. Gazing into heaven will not fetch Christ back, nor any other departed. Let us return to Jerusalem. Earth has its calls to duty, and heaven will chide us if we do not heed them. Let this be the spur which quickens labour and the hope which cheers exhaustion, that "This same Jesus who is taken from us into heaven, shall so come in like manner as they saw Him go into heaven."
J. Oswald Dykes, From Jerusalem to Antioch, p. 5 (see also Preacher’s Lantern, vol. iv., p. 1).

IN this passage we have the bare literal statement of the fact of Christ’s ascension. Let us now consider this supernatural fact, the Ascension, and meditate upon its necessity, and even naturalness, when taken in connection with the whole earthly existence of Incarnate God, and then strive to trace the results and blessings to mankind which followed from it in the gift of the new power, the covenanted gift of the Spirit, and in the spread of the universal religion. I. The ascension of our Lord is a topic whereon familiarity has worked its usual results; it

has lost for most minds the sharpness of its outline and the profundity of its teaching because universally accepted by Christians; and yet no doctrine raises deeper questions, or will yield more profitable and far-reaching lessons. First, then, we may note the place this doctrine holds in apostolic teaching. Taking the records of that teaching contained in the Acts and the Epistles, we find that it occupies a real substantial position. The ascension is there referred to, hinted at, taken as granted, presupposed, but it is not obtruded nor dwelt upon overmuch. The resurrection of Christ was the great central point of apostolic testimony; the ascension of Christ was simply a portion of that fundamental doctrine, and a natural deduction from it. If Christ had been raised from the dead and had thus become the firstfruits of the grave, it required but little additional exercise of faith to believe that He had passed into that unseen and immediate presence of Deity where the perfected soul finds its complete satisfaction. In fact, the doctrine of the resurrection apart from the doctrine of the ascension would have been a mutilated fragment, for the natural question would arise, not for one age but for every age. If Jesus of Nazareth has risen from the dead, where is He? Produce your risen Master, and we will believe in Him, would be the triumphant taunt to which Christians would be ever exposed. But then, when we closely examine the teaching of the Apostles, we shall find that the doctrine of the ascension was just as really bound up with all their preaching and exhortations as the doctrine of the resurrection; the whole Christian idea as conceived by them just as necessarily involved the doctrine of the ascension as it did that of the resurrection. St. Peter’s conception of Christianity, for instance, involved the ascension. Whether in his speech at the election of Matthias, or in his sermon on the day of Pentecost, or in his address in Solomon’s Porch after the healing of the crippled beggar, his teaching ever presupposes and involves the ascension. He takes the doctrine and the fact for granted. Jesus is with him the Being "whom the heavens must receive until the times of restoration of all things." So is it too with St. John in his Gospel. He never directly mentions the fact of Christ’s ascension, but he always implies it. So too with St. Paul and the other apostolic writers of the New Testament. It would be simply impossible to exhibit in detail the manner in which this doctrine pervades and underlies all St. Paul’s teaching. The ascended Saviour occupies the same position in St. Paul’s earliest as in his latest writings. Is he speaking of the lives of the Thessalonians in his First Epistle to that Church: "they are waiting for God’s Son from heaven." Is he pointing them forward to the second advent of Christ: it is of that day he speaks when "the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven." Is he in Rom_8:1-39. dwelling upon the abiding security of God’s elect: he enlarges upon their privileges in "Christ Jesus, who is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us." Is he exhorting the Colossians to a supernatural life: it is because they have supernatural privileges in their ascended Lord. "If ye then were raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God." The more closely the teaching of the Apostles is examined, the more clearly we shall perceive that the ascension was for them no ideal act, no imaginary or fantastic elevation, but a real actual passing of the risen Saviour out of the region and order of the seen and the natural into the region and order of the unseen and supernatural. Just as really as they believed Christ to have risen from the dead, just as really did they in turn believe Him to have ascended into the heavens. II. But some one may raise curious questions as to the facts of the ascension. Whither, for instance, it may be asked, did our Lord depart when He left this earthly scene? The childish notion that He went up and up far above the most distant star will not of course stand a moment’s reflection. It suits the apprehension of childhood, and the innocent illusion should not be too rudely broken; but still, as the advance of years and of wisdom dispels other illusions, so too will this one depart, when the child learns that there is

neither up nor down in this visible universe of ours, and that if we were ourselves transported to the moon, which seems shining over our heads, we should see the earth suspended in the blue azure which would overhang the moon and its newly-arrived inhabitants. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles does not describe our Saviour as thus ascending through infinite space. It simply describes Him as removed from off this earthly ball, and then, a cloud shutting Him out from view, Christ passed into the inner and unseen universe wherein He now dwells. The existence of that inner and unseen universe, asserted clearly enough in Scripture, has of late years been curiously confirmed by scientific speculation. Scripture asserts the existence of such an unseen universe, and the ascension implies it. The second coming of our Saviour is never described as a descent from some far-off region. No, it is always spoken of as an Apocalypse, - a drawing back, that is, of a veil which hides an unseen chamber. The angels, as the messengers of their Divine Master, are described by Christ in Mat_13:1-58. as "coming forth" from the secret place of the Most High to execute His behests. What a solemn light such a scriptural view sheds upon life! The unseen world is not at some vast distance, but, as the ascension would seem to imply, close at hand, shut out from us by that thin veil of matter which angelic hands will one day rend for ever. And then how wondrously the speculations of that remarkable book to which I have referred, "The Unseen Universe," lend themselves to this scriptural idea, pointing out the necessity imposed by modern scientific thought for postulating some such interior spiritual sphere, of which the external and material universe may be regarded as a temporary manifestation and development. The doctrine of the ascension, when rightly understood, presents then no difficulties from a scientific point of view, but is rather in strictest accordance with the highest and subtlest forms of modern thought. But when we advance still closer to the heart of this doctrine, and endeavour, quite apart from all mere carping criticism, to realise its meaning and its power, we shall perceive a profound fitness, beauty, and harmony in this mysterious fact. Laying apart all carping criticism, I say, because the critical spirit is not appreciative, it is on the look-out for faults, it necessarily involves a certain assumption of superiority in the critic to the thing or doctrine criticised; and most certainly it is not to the proud critic, but to the humble soul alone, that the doctrines of the Cross yield of their sweetness, and make revelation of their profound depths. We can perceive a fitness and a naturalness in the ascension; we can advance even farther still, and behold an absolute necessity for it, if Christ’s work was to be perfected in all its details, and Christianity to become, not a narrow local religion, but a universal and catholic Church. III. The ascension was a fitting and a natural termination of Christ’s earthly ministry, considering the Christian conception of His sacred Personality. When the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity wished to reveal the life of God among men, and to elevate humanity by associating it for ever with the person of Him who was the eternal God, He left the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, and entered upon the world of humanity through a miraculous door. "The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, of her substance." These are the careful, accurate, well-balanced words of the second Article of the Church of England, in which all English-speaking Christians substantially agree. They are accurate, I say, and well-balanced, avoiding the Scylla of Nestorianism, which divides Christ’s person, on the one side, and the Charybdis of Eutychianism, which denies His humanity, on the other. The Person of God, the Eternal Word, assumed human nature, not a human person, but human nature, so that God might be able, acting in and through this human nature as His instrument, to teach mankind and to die for mankind. God entered upon the sphere of the seen and the temporal by a miraculous

door. His life and work were marked all through by miracle, His death and resurrection were encompassed with miracle; and it was fitting, considering the whole course of His earthly career, that His departure from this world should be through another miraculous door. The departure of the Eternal King was, like His first approach, a part of a scheme which forms one united and harmonious whole. The Incarnation and the Ascension were necessarily related the one to the other. IV. Again, we may advance a step further, and say that not only was the ascension a natural and fitting termination to the activities of the Eternal Son manifest in the flesh, it was a necessary completion and finish. "It is expedient," said Christ Himself, "that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come to you." For some reason secret from us but hidden in the awful depths of that Being who is the beginning and the end, the source and the condition of all created existence, the return of Christ to the bosom of the Father was absolutely necessary before the outpouring of the Divine Spirit of Life and Love could take place. How this can have been we know not. We only know the fact as revealed to us by Jesus Christ and affirmed by His Apostles. "Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath poured forth this which ye see and hear," is the testimony of the illuminated Apostle St. Peter on the day of Pentecost, speaking in strict unison with the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself as reported in St. John’s Gospel. But without endeavouring to intrude into these mysteries of the Divine nature, into which even the angels themselves pry not, we behold in the character and constitution of Christ’s Church and Christ’s religion sufficient reasons to show us the Divine expediency of our Lord’s ascension. Let us take the matter very plainly and simply thus. Had our Lord not ascended into the unseen state whence He had emerged for the purpose of rescuing mankind from that horrible pit, that mire and clay of pollution, immorality, and selfishness in which it lay at the epoch of the Christian Era, He must in that case (always proceeding on the supposition that He had risen from the dead, because we always suppose our readers to be believers) have remained permanently or temporarily resident in some one place. He might have chosen Jerusalem, the city of the great King, as His abode, and this would have seemed to the religious men of His time quite natural. The same instinct of religious conservatism which made the Twelve to tarry at Jerusalem even when persecution seemed to threaten the infant Church with destruction, would have led the risen Christ to fix His abode at the city which every pious Jew regarded as the special seat of Jehovah. There would have been nothing to tempt Him to Antioch, or Athens, or Alexandria, or Rome. None of these cities could have held out any inducement or put forward any claim comparable for one moment with that which the name, the traditions, and the circumstances of Jerusalem triumphantly maintained. Nay, rather the tone and temper of those cities must have rendered them abhorrent as dwelling-places to the great Teacher of holiness and purity. At any rate, the risen Saviour, if He remained upon earth, must have chosen some one place where His presence and His personal glory would have been manifested. Now let us contemplate, and work out in some detail, the results which would have inevitably followed. The place chosen by our Lord as His visible dwelling-place must then have become the centre of the whole Church. At that spot pilgrims from every land must necessarily have assembled. To it would have resorted the doubter to have his difficulties resolved, the sick and weak to have their ailments cured, the men of profound devotion to bathe themselves and lose themselves in the immediate presence of the Incarnate Deity. All interest in local Churches or local work would have been destroyed, because every eye and every heart would be perpetually turning towards the one spot where the risen Lord was dwelling, and where personal adoration could be paid to Him. All honest,

manly self-reliance would have been lost for individuals, for Churches, and for nations. Whenever a difficulty or controversy arose, either in the personal or ecclesiastical, the social or political sphere, men, instead of trying to solve it for themselves under the guidance of the Divine Spirit, would have hurried off with it to the Fount of supernatural wisdom, as an oracle, like the fabled pagan ones of old, whence direction would infallibly be gained. Judaism would have triumphed, and the dispensation of the Spirit would have ceased. The whole idea, too, of Christianity as a scheme of moral probation would have been overthrown. Christ as belonging to the supernatural sphere would of course have been raised above the laws of time and space. For Him the powers of earth and the terrors of earth would have had no meaning, and heavenly glory, shooting forth from His sacred Person, would have compelled obedience and acceptance of His laws at the hands of His most deadly and obstinate foes. Sight would have taken the place of faith, and the terrified submission of slaves would have been substituted for the moral, loving obedience of the regenerate soul. The whole social order of life would also have been overthrown. God has now placed men in families, societies, and nations, that they might be proved by the very difficulties of their positions. The probation which God thereby exercises over men extends not to those alone who are subject to government, but to those as well who are entrusted with government. God by His present system tries governors and governed, kings and subjects, magistrates and people, parents and children, teachers and pupils, all alike. Any one who has ever made the experiment knows, however, how impossible it is to give full play to one’s power and faculties, whether of government or of teaching, when overlooked by the conscious presence of one who can supersede and control all arrangements made or all the instructions offered. Nervousness comes in, and paralyses the best efforts a man might otherwise make. So would it have been had Christ remained upon earth. Neither those placed in authority nor those set under authority would have done their best or played their part effectually, feeling there was One standing by whose all-piercing gaze could see the imperfection of their noblest actions. A modern illustration or two will perhaps exhibit more plainly what we mean. London, with its enormous and ever-growing population, constitutes in many respects a portentous danger to our national life. But thoughtful colonists often see in it a danger which does not strike us here at home. London has a tendency to sap the springs of local interest and local self-reliance. Every colonist who attains to wealth and position feels himself an exile till he Can get back to London, which he regards as the one centre of the empire worth living at; while the colonies, viewing London as the centre of England’s wealth, power, and resources, feel naturally inclined to fling upon London the care and responsibility of the empire’s protection, in which all its separate parts should take their proportionate share. Or again, let us take an illustration from the ecclesiastical sphere. M. Renan is a writer who has depicted the early history of the Church from a sceptical point of view. He has done so with all the skill of a novelist, aided by the resources of immense erudition. Before Renan became a sceptic he was a Roman Catholic, and a student for the priesthood in one of those narrow seminaries wherein exclusively the Roman Church now trains her clergy. Renan can never, therefore, view Christianity save through a Roman medium, and from a Roman Catholic standpoint. Descended himself from a Jewish stock, and trained up in Roman Catholic ideas, Renan, sceptic though he be, is lost in admiration of the Papacy, because it has combined the Jewish and the ancient imperial ideas, so that Rome having taken the place which Jerusalem once occupied in the spiritual organisation, has now become the local centre of unity for the Latin Church, where Christ’s vicar visibly bears sway, to whom resort can be had from every land as an authoritative guide, and whence he and he alone dispenses with more than imperial

sway the gifts and graces of Divine love. Rome is for the Latin Church the centre of the earth, and upon Rome and its spiritual ruler all interest as concentrated as Christ’s earthly representative and deputy. Now what London is to our colonists, what Rome is for its adherents, such, and infinitely more, would the localised presence of Jesus Christ have been for the Christian world had not the ascension taken place. The Papacy, instead of securing the universality of the Church, strikes a deadly blow at it. The Papacy, with its centralised ecclesiastical despotism, is not the Catholic Church, it is simply the local Church of Rome spread out into all the world; just as Judaism never was and never could have been catholic in its ideal, no matter how widely spread it was, from the shores of the British Islands in the West to the far-distant regions of China in the East. Its adherents, like the eunuch of Ethiopia, never felt a local interest in their religion, -their eyes ever turned towards Zion, the city of the great King. And so would it have been with the bodily presence of Christ manifested in one spot; the Christian Church would still have remained a purely local institution, and the place where the risen Saviour was manifested would have been for Christian people the one centre towards which all their thoughts would gravitate, to the complete neglect of those home interests and labours in which each individual Church ought to find the special work appointed for it by the Master. It was expedient for the Church that Christ should go away, to deepen faith, to strengthen Christian self-reliance, to offer play and scope for the power and work of the Holy Ghost, to render life a testing-ground, and a place of probation for the higher life to come. But above all, it was expedient that Christ should go away in order that the Church might rise out of and above that narrow provincialism in which the Jewish spirit would fain bind it, might attain to a truly universal and catholic position, and thus fulfil the Master’s magnificent prophecy to the woman of Samaria, when, viewing in spirit the Church’s onward march, beholding it bursting all local and national bonds, recognising it as the religion of universal humanity, He proclaimed its destiny in words which shall never die-"Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall ye worship the Father. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." The ascension of Jesus Christ was absolutely necessary to equip the Church for its universal mission, by withdrawing the bodily presence of Christ into that unseen region which bears no special relation to any terrestrial locality, but is the common destiny, the true fatherland, of all the sons of God. V. We have now seen how the ascension was needful for the Church, by rendering Christ an ideal object of worship for the whole human race, thus saving it from that tendency to mere localism which would have utterly changed its character. We can also trace another great blessing involved in it. The ascension glorified humanity as humanity, and ennobled man viewed simply as man. The ascension thus transformed life by adding a new dignity to life and to life’s duties. This was a very necessary lesson for the ancient world, especially the ancient Gentile world, which Christ came to enlighten and to save. Man, considered by himself as man, had no peculiar dignity in the popular religious estimate of Greece and Rome .A Greek or a Roman was a dignified person, not, however, in virtue of his humanity, but in virtue of his Greek or Roman citizenship. The most pious Greeks or Romans simply despised mankind as such, regarding all other nations as barbarians, and treating them accordingly. Roman law exempted Roman citizens from degrading and cruel punishments, which they reserved for men outside the limits of Roman citizenship, because that humanity as humanity had no dignity attached to it in their estimation. The gladiatorial shows were the most striking illustration of this contempt for human nature which paganism inculcated. It is a notable evidence, too, of the firm grasp upon the popular mind this contempt had taken, of the awful depths to which the fatal infection had permeated the public

conscience, that it was not till four hundred years after the Incarnation, and not till one hundred years after the triumph of Christianity, that these frightful carnivals of human blood and slaughter yielded to the gentler and nobler principles of the religion of the Cross. No name indeed in the long roll of Christian martyrs, who for truth and righteousness have laid down their lives, deserves higher mention than that of Telemachus, the Asiatic monk, who, in the year 404, hearing that the city where the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul had suffered was still disgraced by the gladiatorial shows, made his way to Rome, and by the sacrifice of his own life terminated them forever within the bounds of Christendom. Telemachus rushed between the combatants in the arena, flung them asunder, and then was stoned to death by the mob, infuriated at the interruption of their favourite amusement. A tragic but glorious ending indeed, showing clearly how little the Roman mob realised as yet the doctrine of the sanctity of human nature; how powerful was the sway which paganism and pagan modes of thought held as yet over the populace of nominally Christian Rome; the tradition of which even still perpetuates itself in the cruel bull-fights of Spain. From the beginning, however, Christianity took exactly the opposite course, declaring to all the dignity and glory of human nature itself. The Incarnation was in itself a magnificent proclamation of this great elevating and civilising truth. The title Son of Man, which Christ, rising above all narrow Jewish nationalism, assumed to Himself, was a republication of the same dogma; and then, to crown the whole fabric, comes the doctrine of the ascension, wherein mankind was taught that human nature as joined to the person of God has ascended into the holiest place of the universe, so that henceforth the humblest and lowliest can view his humanity as allied with that elder Brother who in the reality of human flesh-glorified, indeed, spiritualised and refined by the secret, searching processes of death-has passed within the veil, now to appear in the presence of God for us. What new light must have been shed upon life-the life of the barbarian and of the slave-crushed beneath the popular theory of St. Paul’s day! What new dignity this doctrine imparted to the bodies of the outcast and despised, counted fit food only for the cross, the stake, or the arena! Man might despise them and ill-treat them, yet their bodies were made like unto the one glorious Body for ever united to God, and therefore they were comforted, elevated, enabled to endure as seeing Him who is invisible. Cannot we see many examples of the consoling, elevating power of the ascension in the New Testament? Take St. Paul’s writings, and there we trace the influence of the ascension in every page. Take the very lowest case. Slaves under the conditions of ancient society occupied the most degraded position. Their duties were of the humblest type, their treatment of the worst description, their punishments of the most terrible character. Yet for even these oppressed and degraded beings the doctrine of the ascension transformed life, because it endowed that menial service which they rendered with a new dignity. "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God." And why? Because life has been enriched with a new motive: "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ." Ye serve the Lord Christ. That was the supreme point. The cooking of a dinner, the dressing of an imperious lady’s hair, the teaching of a careless or refractory pupil-all these things were transfigured into the service of the ascended Lord. And as with the servants, so was it with their masters. The ascension furnished them with a new and practical motive, which, at first leading to kindly treatment and generous actions, would one day, by the force of logical deduction as well as of Christian principle, lead to the utter extinction of slavery. "Masters, render unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." The doctrine of the ascension diffused sweetness and light throughout the whole Christian system,

furnishing a practical motive, offering an ever-present and eternal sanction, urging men upwards and onwards; without which neither the Church nor the world would ever have reached that high level of mercy, charity, and purity which men now enjoy. Perhaps here again the present age may see the doctrine of the ascension asserting its glory and its power in the same direction. Much of modern speculation tends to debase and belittle the human body, teaching theories respecting its origin which have a natural tendency to degrade the popular standard. If people come to think of their bodies as derived from a low source, they will be apt to think a low standard of morals as befitting bodies so descended. The doctrine of evolution has not, to say the least, an elevating influence upon the masses. I say nothing against it. One or two passages in the Bible, as Gen_2:7, seem to support it, appearing, as that verse does, to make a division between the creation of the body of man and the creation of his spirit. But the broad tendency of such speculation lies in a downward moral direction. Here the doctrine of the ascension steps in to raise for us, as it raised for the materialists of St. Paul’s day, the standard of current conceptions, and to teach men a higher and a nobler view. we leave to science the investigation of the past and of the lowly sources whence man’s body may have come; but the doctrine of the ascension speaks of its present sanctity and of its future glory, telling of the human body as a body of humiliation and of lowliness indeed, but yet proclaiming it as even now, in the person of Christ, ascended into the heavens, and seated on the throne of the Most High. It may have been once humble in it’s origin; it is now glorious in its dignity and elevation; and that dignity and that elevation shed a halo upon human nature, no matter how degraded and wherever it may be found, because it is like unto that Body, the firstfruits of humanity, which stands at the right hand of God. Thus the doctrine of the ascension becomes for the Christian the ever-flowing fountain of dignity, of purity, and of mercy, teaching us to call no man common or unclean, because all have been made like unto the image of the Son of God.

9. MACLARE , "The Ascension is twice narrated by Luke. The life begun by the
supernatural birth ends with the supernatural Ascension, which sets the seal of Heaven on Christ’s claims and work. Therefore the Gospel ends with it. But it is also the startingpoint of the Christ’s heavenly activity, of which the growth of His Church, as recorded in the Acts, is the issue. Therefore the Book of the Acts of the Apostles begins with it. The keynote of the ‘treatise’ lies in the first words, which describe the Gospel as the record of what ‘Jesus began to do and teach,’ Luke would have gone on to say that this second book of his contained the story of what Jesus went on to do and teach after He was ‘taken up,’ if he had been strictly accurate, or had carried out his first intention, as shown by the mould of his introductory sentence; but he is swept on into the full stream of his narrative, and we have to infer the contrast between his two volumes from his statement of the contents of his first. The book, then, is misnamed Acts of the Apostles, both because the greater number of the Apostles do nothing in it, and because, in accordance with the hint of the first verse, Christ Himself is the doer of all, as comes out distinctly in many places where the critical events of the Church’s progress and extension are attributed to ‘the Lord.’ In one aspect, Christ’s work on earth was finished on the Cross; in another, that finished work is but the beginning both of His doing and teaching. Therefore we are not to regard His teaching while on earth as the completion of Christian revelation. To set aside the Epistles on the plea that the Gospels contain Christ’s own teaching, while the Epistles are only Paul’s or John’s, is to misconceive the relation between the earthly and the heavenly activity of Jesus.

The statement of the theme of the book is followed by a brief summary of the events between the Resurrection and Ascension. Luke had spoken of these in the end of his Gospel, but given no note of time, and run together the events of the day of the Resurrection and of the following weeks, so that it might appear, as has been actually contended that he meant, that the Ascension took place on the very day of Resurrection. The fact that in this place he gives more detailed statements, and tells how long elapsed between the Resurrection Sunday and the Ascension, might have taught hasty critics that an author need not be ignorant of what he does not mention, and that a detailed account does not contradict a summary one,-truths which do not seem very recondite, but have often been forgotten by very learned commentators. Three points are signalised as occupying the forty days: commandments were given, Christ’s actual living presence was demonstrated (by sight, touch, hearing, etc.), and instructions concerning the kingdom were imparted. The old blessed closeness and continuity of companionship had ceased. Our Lord’s appearances were now occasional. He came to the disciples, they knew not whence; He withdrew from them, they knew not whither. Apparently a sacred awe restrained them from seeking to detain Him or to follow Him. Their hearts would be full of strangely mingled feelings, and they were being taught by gentle degrees to do without Him. Not only a divine decorum, but a most gracious tenderness, dictated the alternation of presence and absence during these days. The instructions then given are again referred to in Luke’s Gospel, and are there represented as principally directed to opening their minds ‘that they might understand the Scriptures.’ The main thing about the kingdom which they had then to learn, was that it was founded on the death of Christ, who had fulfilled all the Old Testament predictions. Much remained untaught, which after years were to bring to clear knowledge; but from the illumination shed during these fruitful days flowed the remarkable vigour and confidence of the Apostolic appeal to the prophets, in the first conflicts of the Church with the rulers. Christ is the King of the kingdom, and His Cross is His throne,-these truths being grasped revolutionised the Apostles’ conceptions. They are as needful for us. From Act_1:4 onwards the last interview seems to be narrated. Probably it began in the city, and ended on the slopes of Olivet. There was a solemn summoning together of the Eleven, which is twice referred to (Act_1:4, Act_1:6). What awe of expectancy would rest on the group as they gathered round Him, perhaps half suspecting that it was for the last time! His words would change the suspicion into certainty, for He proceeded to tell them what they were not to do and to do, when left alone. The tone of leave-taking is unmistakable. The prohibition against leaving Jerusalem implies that they would have done so if left to themselves; and it would have been small wonder if they had been eager to hurry back to quiet Galilee, their home, and to shake from their feet the dust of the city where their Lord had been slain. Truly they would feel like sheep in the midst of wolves when He had gone, and Pharisees and priests and Roman officers ringed them round. No wonder if, like a shepherdless flock, they had broken and scattered! But the theocratic importance of Jerusalem, and the fact that nowhere else could the Apostles secure such an audience for their witness, made their ‘beginning at Jerusalem’ necessary. So they were to crush their natural longing to get back to Galilee, and to stay in their dangerous position. We have all to ask, not where we should be most at ease, but where we shall be most efficient as witnesses for Christ, and to remember that very often the presence of adversaries makes the door ‘great and effectual.’ These eleven poor men were not left by their Master with a hard task and no help. He bade them ‘wait’ for the promised Holy Spirit, the coming of whom they had heard from

Him when in the upper room He spoke to them of ‘the Comforter.’ They were too feeble to act alone, and silence and retirement were all that He enjoined till they had been plunged into the fiery baptism which should quicken, strengthen, and transform them. The order in which promise and command occur here shows how graciously Jesus considered the Apostles’ weakness. Not a word does He say of their task of witnessing, till He has filled their hearts with the promise of the Spirit. He shows them the armour of power in which they are to be clothed, before He points them to the battlefield. Waiting times are not wasted times. Over-eagerness to rush into work, especially into conspicuous and perilous work, is sure to end in defeat. Till we feel the power coming into us, we had better be still. The promise of this great gift, the nature of which they but dimly knew, set the Apostles’ expectations on tiptoe, and they seem to have thought that their reception of it was in some way the herald of the establishment of the Messianic kingdom. So it was, but in a very different fashion from their dream. They had not learned so much from the forty days’ instructions concerning the kingdom as to be free from their old Jewish notions, which colour their question, ‘Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?’ They believed that Jesus could establish His kingdom when He would. They were right, and also wrong,-right, for He is King; wrong, for its establishment is not to be effected by a single act of power, but by the slow process of preaching the gospel. Our Lord does not deal with their misconceptions which could only be cured by time and events; but He lays down great principles, which we need as much as the Eleven did. The ‘times and seasons,’ the long stretches of days, and the critical epoch-making moments, are known to God only; our business is, not to speculate curiously about these, but to do the plain duty which is incumbent on the Church at all times. The perpetual office of Christ’s people to be His witnesses, their equipment for that function (namely, the power of the Holy Spirit coming on them), and the sphere of their work (namely, in everwidening circles, Jerusalem, Samaria, and the whole world), are laid down, not for the first hearers only, but for all ages and for each individual, in these last words of the Lord as He stood on Olivet, ready to depart. The calm simplicity of the account of the Ascension is remarkable. So great an event told in such few, unimpassioned words! Luke’s Gospel gives the further detail that it was in the act of blessing with uplifted hands that our Lord was parted from the Eleven. Two expressions are here used to describe the Ascension, one of which (‘was taken up’) implies that He was passive, the other of which (‘He went’) implies that He was active. Both are true. As in the accounts of the Resurrection He is sometimes said to have been raised, and sometimes to have risen, so here. The Father took the Son back to the glory, the Son left the world and went to the Father. No chariot of fire, no whirlwind, was needed to lift Him to the throne. Elijah was carried by such agency into a sphere new to him; Jesus ascended up where He was before. No other mode of departure from earth would have corresponded to His voluntary, supernatural birth. He carried manhood up to the throne of God. The cloud which received Him while yet He was well within sight of the gazers was probably that same bright cloud, the symbol of the Divine Presence, which of old dwelt between the cherubim. His entrance into it visibly symbolised the permanent participation, then begun, of His glorified manhood in the divine glory. Most true to human nature is that continued gaze upwards after He had passed into the hiding brightness of the glory-cloud. How many of us know what it is to look long at the spot on the horizon where the last glint of sunshine struck the sails of the ship that bore dear ones away from us! It was fitting that angels, who had heralded His birth and watched His grave, should proclaim His Second Coming to earth. It was gracious that, in the moment of keenest sense of desolation and loss, the great

hope of reunion should be poured into the hearts of the Apostles. Nothing can be more distinct and assured than the terms of that angel message. It gives for the faith and hope of all ages the assurance that He will come; that He who comes will be the very Jesus who went; that His coming will be, like His departure, visible, corporeal, local. He will bring again all His tenderness, all His brother’s heart, all His divine power, and will gather His servants to Himself. No wonder that, with such hopes flowing over the top of their sorrow, like oil on troubled waters, the little group went back to the upper room, hallowed by memories of the Last Supper, and there waited in prayer and supplication during the ten days which elapsed till Pentecost. So should we use the interval between any promise and its fulfilment. Patient expectation, believing prayer, harmonious association with our brethren, will prepare us for receiving the gift of the Spirit, and will help to equip us as witnesses for Jesus. 10. CALVIN, " The readers may learn out of our Institutions what profit we reap by the ascension of Christ. Notwithstanding, because it is one of the chiefest points of our faith, therefore doth Luke endeavor more diligently to prove the same; yea, rather, the Lord himself meant to put the same out of all doubt, when as he hath ascended so manifestly, and hath confirmed the certainty of the same by other circumstances. For, if so be it he had vanished away secretly, then might the disciples have doubted what was become of him; 39 but now, sith that they, being in so plain a place, 40 saw him taken up with whom they had been conversant, whom also they heard speak even now, whom they beheld with their eyes, whom also they see taken out of their sight by a cloud, there is no cause why they should doubt whither he was gone. Furthermore, the angels are there also to bear witness of the same. And it was needful that the history should have been set down so diligently for our cause, that we may know assuredly, that although the Son of God appear nowhere upon earth, yet doth he live in the heavens. And this seemeth to be the reason why the cloud did overshadow him, before such time as he did enter into his celestial glory; that his disciples being content with their measure 41 might cease to inquire any further. And we are taught by them that our mind is not able to ascend so high as to take a full view of the glory of Christ; therefore, let this cloud be a mean to restrain our boldness, as was the smoke which was continually before the door of the tabernacle in the time of the law. 11. RAY STEDMAN, "He did not go to some far distant planet of space. I think it is wrong to think of heaven as off yonder somewhere, several billion light years away. No, Jesus simply stepped into a different dimension of existence, the spiritual kingdom which surrounds us on every side, invisibly. He is not far away, and neither is the throne of God, and the greatness of his power. But that invisible life is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit who came as a result of his leaving this earth. Because he went, I can have all of him, and so can you. Now the angels tell us that though he was to go away, his return is certain. "This same Jesus," they say, "will come back again." When he comes he will come in exactly the same way as they saw him go. Just as he stepped into invisibility then, he will step back again into visibility. Suddenly he will be back.

10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

1. Barnes, “Looked stedfastly - They fixed their eyes, or gazed intently toward heaven. Luk_4:20, “and the eyes of all them in the synagogue were fastened (Greek: the same word as here) on him.” It denotes the intense gaze when we are deeply interested, and wish to see clearly and distinctly. They were amazed and confounded; what had occurred was unlocked for; for they had just been inquiring whether he would not, at that time, restore the kingdom to Israel. With this mingled amazement, disappointment, and curiosity, and with an earnest desire to catch the last glimpse of their beloved master, they naturally continued to gaze on the distant clouds where he had mysteriously disappeared from their view. Never was a scene more impressive, grand, and solemn than this. Toward heaven - Toward the distant clouds or sky which had received him. As he went up - Literally, upon him going up; that is, they gazed on him as he ascended, and doubtless they continued to gaze after he had disappeared from their view. Two men - From the raiment of these “men,” and the nature of their message, it seems clear that they were angelic beings, who were sent to meet and comfort the disciples on this occasion. They appeared in human form, and Luke describes them as they appeared. Angels are not infrequently called people. Luk_24:4, “two men stood by them in shining garments,” etc. Compare Joh_20:12; Mat_28:5. As two angels are mentioned only as addressing the apostles after the resurrection of Jesus Joh_20:12; Luk_24:4, it is no unnatural supposition that these were the same who had been designated to the honorable office of bearing witness to his resurrection, and of giving them all the information about that resurrection, and of his ascension, which their circumstances needed. In white apparel - Angels are commonly represented as clothed in white. See the Joh_ 20:12 note; Mat_28:3 note; Mar_16:5 note. It is an emblem of purity; and the worshippers of heaven are represented as clothed in this manner. Rev_3:4, “they shall walk with me in white”; Rev_3:5, “He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment”; Rev_4:4; Rev_7:9, Rev_7:13-14.

2. Clarke, “Looked steadfastly - Keeping their eyes intensely fixed on their
ascending Lord; continuing to look even after he had ascended above the region of the inferior clouds. Two men stood by them - Doubtless, angels in human shape. In white apparel - As emblematical of their purity, happiness, and glory.

3. Gill, “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven,.... For though he was
taken out of their sight by the cloud, they kept looking upwards, and after him, if they could see him again, or any more of him: as he went up; they looked up to heaven after him, as he went up from the earth, before the cloud took him out of their sight; and still they continued looking, as the cloud carried him up, until it was out of the reach of their sight, being willing to see the last of him in this way: behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; that is, two angels in the form of men; it being usual with them to appear in human form: these on a sudden appeared and stood on the earth just by them; though the Ethiopic version renders it, "they stood above them", as if they were in the air over their heads; and they appeared in white apparel, as the angel at the sepulchre in Mat_28:2 which was a symbol both of their purity and holiness, and of their lustre and glory. The Ethiopic version renders it, "they were clothed with lightning"; they appeared in such a dazzling form, that it looked as if they were covered with lightning; as the angel that appeared at Christ's resurrection, his countenance is said to be as lightning; which must at once fix the attention of the disciples to them, and strike them with surprise: hence a "behold" is prefixed to this: and hereby they knew that they were not common and ordinary men, or mere men, but angels in such a form.

4. Henry, “The disciples, when he had gone out of their sight, yet still continued
looking up stedfastly to heaven (Act_1:10), and this longer than it was fit they should; and why so? 1. Perhaps they hoped that Christ would presently come back to them again, to restore the kingdom to Israel, and were loth to believe they should now part with him for good and all; so much did they still dote upon his bodily presence, though he had told them that it was expedient for them that he should go away. or, they looked after him, as doubting whether he might not be dropped, as the sons of the prophets thought concerning Elijah (2Ki_2:16), and so they might have him again. 2. Perhaps they expected to see some change in the visible heavens now upon Christ's ascension, that either the sun should be ashamed or the moon confounded (Isa_24:23), as being outshone by his lustre; or, rather, that they should show some sign of joy and triumph; or perhaps they promised themselves a sight of the glory of the invisible heavens, upon their opening to receive him. Christ had told them that hereafter they should see heaven opened (Joh_1:51), and why should not they expect it now?

5. Jamison, “while they looked steadfastly toward heaven — following Him
with their eager eyes, in rapt amazement. Not, however, as a mere fact is this recorded, but as a part of that resistless evidence of their senses on which their whole subsequent testimony was to be borne. two men in white apparel — angels in human form, as in Luk_24:4.

6. Calvin, “Two men He calleth them so by reason of their form. For although it

might be that they had the bodies of men in deed, concerning which thing I will not greatly stand in defense of either part, yet certain it is they were not men; but because this metonymia is commonly used in the Scriptures, especially in the First Book of Moses, I will not greatly stand thereupon. Their white garments were a token of rare and excellent dignity. For God meant by this, as by an evident token to distinguish them from the common sort of people, that the disciples might give better ear unto them; 42 and that at this day we also may know that this vision was showed them of God.

11"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

1. Barnes, “Ye men of Galilee - Galilee was the place of their former residence, and they were commonly known by the name of Galileans. Why stand ye ... - There is doubtless a slight degree of censure implied in this, as well as a design to call their attention away from a vain attempt to see the departed Saviour. The impropriety may have been: (1) In the feeling of disappointment, as if he would not restore the kingdom to Israel. (2) Possibly they were expecting that he would again soon appear, though he had often foretold them that he would ascend to heaven. (3) There might have been an impropriety in their earnest desire for the mere bodily presence of the Lord Jesus, when it was more important that he should be in heaven. We may see here also that it is our duty not to stand in idleness, and to gaze even toward heaven. We, as well as the apostles, have a great work to do, and we should actively engage in it without delay. Gazing up - Looking up. This same Jesus - This was said to comfort them. The same tried friend who had been so faithful to them would return. They ought not, therefore, to look with despondency at his departure. Into heaven - This expression denotes into the immediate presence of God; or into the place of perpetual purity and happiness, where God especially manifests his favor. The same thing is frequently designated by his sitting on the right hand of God, as

emblematic of power, honor, and favor. See the Mar_16:19; Mar_14:62 notes; Heb_1:3; Heb_8:1 notes; Act_7:55 note; Rom_8:34 note; Eph_1:20 note. Shall so come - At the day of judgment. Joh_14:3, “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,” etc. In like manner ... - In clouds, as he ascended. See the Act_1:9 note; 1Th_4:16 note. This address was designed to comfort the disciples. Though their master and friend was taken from them, yet he was not removed forever. He would come again with similar majesty and glory to vindicate his people, and to tread his enemies under his feet. The design for which he will come will be to judge the world, Matt. 25. There will be an evident fitness and propriety in his coming for such reasons as the following: (1) Because his appropriate work in heaven as mediator will have been accomplished; his people will have been saved; the great enemy of God and man will have been subdued; death will have been conquered; and the gospel will have shown its power in subduing all forms of wickedness; in removing the effects of sin; in establishing the Law, and in vindicating the honor of God; and all will have been done that is necessary to establish the authority of God throughout the universe. It will be proper, therefore, that this mysterious order of things shall be wound up, and the results become a matter of record in the history of the universe. This will be better than it would be to suffer an eternal millennium on the earth, while the saints should many of them slumber, and the wicked still be in their graves. (2) It is proper that he should come to vindicate his people, and raise them up to glory. Here they have been persecuted, oppressed, put to death. Their character is assailed; they are poor; and the world despises them. It is fit that God should show himself to be their friend; that he should do justice to their injured names and motives; that he should bring out hidden and obscure virtue, and vindicate it; that he should enter every grave and bring forth his friends to life. (3) It is proper that he should show his hatred of sin. Here it triumphs. The wicked are rich, and honored, and mighty, and say, Where is the promise of his coming? 2Pe_3:4. It is right that he should defend his cause. Hence, the Lord Jesus will come to guard the avenues to heaven, and to see that the universe suffers no wrong by the admission of an improper person to the skies. (4) The great transactions of redemption have been public, open, often grand. The apostasy was public, in the face of angels and of the universe. Sin has been open, public high-handed. Misery has been public, and has rolled its deep and turbid waves in the face of the universe. Death has been public; all worlds have seen the race cut down and moulder. The death of Jesus was public: the angels saw it; the heavens were clothed with mourning; the earth shook, and the dead arose. Jesus was publicly whipped, cursed, crucified; and it is proper that he should publicly triumph - that all heaven rejoicing, and all hell at length humbled, should see his public victory. Hence, he will come with clouds - with angels - with fire - and will raise the dead, and exhibit to all the universe the amazing close of the scheme of redemption. (5) We have in these verses a description of the most grand and wonderful events that this world has ever known - the ascension and return of the Lord Jesus. Here is consolation for the Christian; and here is a source of ceaseless alarm to the sinner.

2. Clarke, “Gazing up into heaven - Not to the top of a mountain, to which an unbridled fancy, influenced by infidelity, would intimate he had ascended, and not to heaven.

This same Jesus - Clothed in human nature, shall so come in like manner - with the same body, descending from heaven by his sovereign and all-controlling power, as ye have seen him go into heaven. Thus shall he come again to judge the quick and the dead. It was a very ancient opinion among Christians, that when Christ should come again to judge the world he would make his appearance on Mount Olivet. Some think that his coming again to destroy the Jewish nation is what the angels refer to. See a connected account of the different appearances of Christ at the end of this chapter.

3. Gill, “Which also said, ye men of Galilee,.... And which was said by them, not to
reproach them with their country, but partly to let them know that they knew them, who they were, and from whence they came; and partly to observe the rich and distinguishing grace of God in choosing such mean and contemptible persons to be the apostles of Christ, and eyewitnesses of his majesty: why stand ye gazing up into heaven? reproving them for their curiosity in looking after Christ with their bodily eyes, who was no more in common to be seen this way, but with an eye of faith; and for their desire after his corporeal presence, which they were not to look for; and as if they expected he would return again immediately, whereas his return will not be till the end of the world: and besides, they were not to remain on that spot, or stand gazing there; they were to go to Jerusalem, and abide there, as Christ had ordered, till they should receive the Holy Spirit in an extraordinary way; and then they were to preach a crucified Christ, and declare that he was risen from the dead, and was gone to heaven, and was ordained to be the Judge of quick and dead, This same Jesus; and not another; the same in person, in body and soul: which is taken up from you into heaven; who was taken up in a cloud out of their sight, and received into heaven, where he will be till the times of the restitution of all things; and which might be matter of grief to them, because of the loss of his bodily presence; though it should have been rather joyful to them, since he was gone to the Father, and as their forerunner, to prepare a place, and make intercession for them: shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven; he shall come in the same flesh, in the same human nature; he shall come in the clouds of heaven, and shall be attended with his mighty angels, as he now was; he shall descend himself in person, as he now ascended in person; and as he went up with a shout, and with the sound of a trumpet, see Psa_47:5 so he shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God; and, it may be, he shall descend upon the very spot from whence he ascended; see Zec_14:4 and it is a notion of the Jews, that the resurrection of the Israelites will be there: they say (m), that "when the dead shall live, the Mount of Olives shall be cleaved asunder, and all the dead of Israel shall come out from under it; yea, even the righteous which die in captivity shall pass through a subterranean cavern, and come out from under the Mount of Olives.

4. Henry, “Two angels appeared to them, and delivered them a seasonable message from God. There was a world of angels ready to receive our Redeemer, now that he made his public entry into the Jerusalem above: we may suppose these two loth to be absent then; yet, to show how much Christ had at heart the concerns of his church on earth, he

sent back to his disciples two of those that came to meet him, who appear as two men in white apparel, bright and glittering; for they know, according to the duty of their place, that they are really serving Christ when they are ministering to his servants on earth. Now we are told what the angels said to them, 1. To check their curiosity: You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? He calls them men of Galilee, to put them in mind of the rock out of which they were hewn. Christ had put a great honour upon them, in making them his ambassadors; but they must remember that they are men, earthen vessels, and men of Galilee, illiterate men, looked upon with disdain. Now, say they, “Why stand you here, like Galileans, rude and unpolished men, gazing up into heaven? What would you see? You have seen all that you were called together to see, and why do you look any further? Why stand you gazing, as men frightened and perplexed, as men astonished and at their wits' end?” Christ's disciples should never stand at a gaze, because they have a sure rule to go by, and a sure foundation to build upon. 2. To confirm their faith concerning Christ's second coming. Their Master had often told them of this, and the angels are sent at this time seasonably to put them in mind of it: “This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, and whom you are looking thus long after, wishing you had him with you again, is not gone for ever; for there is a day appointed in which he will come in like manner thence, as you have seen him go thither, and you must not expect him back till that appointed day.” (1.) “This same Jesus shall come again in his own person, clothed with a glorious body; this same Jesus, who came once to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, will appear a second time without sin (Heb_9:26, Heb_9:28), who came once in disgrace to be judged, will come again in glory to judge. The same Jesus who has given you your charge will come again to call you to an account how you have performed your trust; he, and not another,” Job_19:27. (2.) “He shall come in like manner. He is gone away in a cloud, and attended with angels; and, behold, he comes in the clouds, and with him an innumerable company of angels! He is gone up with a shout and with the sound of a trumpet (Psa_47:5), and he will descend from heaven with a shout and with the trump of God, 1Th_4:16. You have now lost the sight of him in the clouds and in the air; and whither he is gone you cannot follow him now, but shall then, when you shall be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” When we stand gazing and trifling, the consideration of our Master's second coming should quicken and awaken us; and, when we stand gazing and trembling, the consideration of it should comfort and encourage us.

5. Jamison, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven, etc. — “as if your now glorified Head were gone from you never to return: He is coming again; not another, but ‘this same Jesus’; and ‘as ye have seen Him go, in the like manner shall He come’ - as personally, as visibly, as gloriously; and let the joyful expectation of this coming swallow up the sorrow of that departure.”

6. RWP, “Who also (hoi kai). Common use of kai pleonastic to show that the two
events were parallel. This is the simplest way from Homer on to narrate two parallel events. Why? (tōi). Jesus had told them of his coming Ascension (Joh_6:62; Joh_20:17) so that they should have been prepared.

This Jesus (houtos ho Iēsous). Qui vobis fuit eritque semper Jesus, id esto4, Salvator (Corn. a Lapide). The personal name assures them that Jesus will always be in heaven a personal friend and divine Saviour (Knowling). So in like manner (houtōs hon tropon). Same idea twice. “So in which manner” (incorporation of antecedent and accusative of general reference). The fact of his second coming and the manner of it also described by this emphatic repetition.

7. Calvin, “Ye men of Galilee, etc. I am not of their opinion who think that this name was given the apostles after an opprobrious sort, as if the angels meant to reprehend the slowness and dullness of the apostles. In my opinion, it was rather to make them more attentive, in that men, whom they did never see before, did name them as though they had perfectly known them. But they seem to reprehend without cause, for looking up into heaven. For where should they rather seek for Christ than in heaven? Doth not the Scriptures also oftentimes exhort us thereunto? I answer, that they were not reprehended because they looked up towards heaven; but because they coveted to see Christ, when as the cloud which was put between them and him did keep them from seeing him with their bodily senses: Secondly, because they hoped that he would return again straightway, that they might enjoy the sight of him again, when as lie did ascend to stay in the heavens until such time as he should come 43 to judge the world. Wherefore, let us first learn out of this place that we must not seek Christ either in heaven, either upon earth, otherwise than by faith; and also, that we must not desire to have him present with us bodily in the world; for he that doth 44 either of those two shall oftentimes go farther from him. So this their admiration is reprehended, not simply, but inasmuch as they were astonied by the strangeness of this matter; like as we are oftentimes carried unadvisedly into a wonderful great wondering at God’s works; but we never apply ourselves to consider for what end and purpose they were done. Jesus, which is taken up into heaven There are two members in this one sentence. The first is, that Christ was taken up into heaven, that they may not henceforth foolishly desire to have him any longer conversant with them upon earth. The other is straightway added as a consolation concerning his second coming. Out of these two jointly, and also severally, is gathered a firm, stable, and strong argument, to refute the Papists, and all other which imagine that Christ is really present in the signs of bread and wine. For when it is said that Christ is taken up into heaven; here is plainly noted the distance of place. I grant that this word heaven is interpreted divers ways, sometimes for the air, sometimes for the whole connection 45 of the spheres, sometimes for the glorious kingdom of God, where the majesty of God hath his [its] proper scat, howsoever it doth fill the whole world. After which sort Paul doth place Christ above all heavens, (Ephesians 1:22,) because he is above all the world, and hath the chiefest room in that place of blessed immortality, because he is more excellent than all the angels, (Ephesians 4:15.) But this is no let why he may not be absent from us bodily, and that by this word heavens, there may not be signified a separation from the world. Let them cavil as much as they will, it is evident that the heaven whereinto Christ

was received is opposite to the frame of the world; therefore it doth necessarily follow, that if he be in heaven, he is without [beyond] the world. But, first, we must mark what the purpose of the angels was, for thereby we shall more perfectly know what the words mean. The angels’ intent was to call back the apostles from desiring the carnal presence of Christ. For this purpose was it that they said that he should not come again until he came to judge the world. And to this end serveth the assigning of the time, that they might not look for him in vain before that same time. Who seeth not that in these words is manifestly showed that he was bodily absent out of the world? Who seeth not that we are forbidden to desire to have him upon the earth? But, they think they escape safe with that crafty answer, when as they say that then he shall come visibly; but he cometh now invisibly daily. But we are not here to dispute of his form; only the apostles are taught that Christ must abide in heaven until such time as he appear at the latter day. For the desiring of his corporeal presence is here condemned as absurd and perverse. The Papists deny that he is present in the sacrament carnally, while that his glorious body is present with us after a supernatural sort, and by a miracle; but we may well enough reject their inventions concerning his glorious body, as childish and frivolous toys. They feign unto themselves a miracle not confirmed with any testimony of Scripture. The body of Christ was then glorious, when as he was conversant with his disciples after his resurrection. This was done by the extraordinary and secret power of God; yet, notwithstanding, the angels do forbid to desire him afterward after that sort, and they say that he shall not come unto men in that sort (before the latter day.) Therefore, according to their commandment, let us not go about to pull him out of the heavens with our own inventions; neither let us think that we call handle him with our hands, or perceive him with our other senses, more than we can see him with our eyes. I speak always of his body. For in that they say it is infinite, as it is all absurd dream, so is it safely to be rejected. Nevertheless, I willingly confess that Christ is ascended that he may fulfill [fill] all things; but I say that he is spread abroad everywhere by the power of his Spirit, not by the substance of his flesh. I grant, furthermore, that he is present With us both in his word and in the sacraments. Neither is it to be doubted, but that all those which do with faith receive the signs of his flesh and blood, are made truly partakers of his flesh and blood. But this partaking doth nothing agree with the dotings of the Papists; for they feign that Christ is present in such sort upon the altar as Numa Pompilius did call down his Jupiter Elicitus, or as those witches did fetch down the moon from heaven with their enchantments. But Christ, by reaching us the bread in his Supper, doth will us to lift up our hearts into heaven, that we may have life by his flesh and blood. So that we do not eat his flesh grossly, that we may live thereby, but he poureth into us, by the secret power of his Spirit, his force and strength. He shall so come I have said before, that by this consolation all sorrow which we might conceive, because of Christ’s absence, is mitigated, yea, utterly taken away, when as we hear that lie shall return again. And also the end for which he shall come again is to be noted; namely, that he shall come as a Redeemer, and shall gather us with him into blessed immortality. For as lie doth not now sit idle in heaven, (as Homer signifieth, that his gods be busied only about their bellies;) so shall not he appear again without profit. Therefore, the only looking for Christ’s

coming must both restrain the importunate desires of our flesh, and support our patience in all our adversities; and, lastly, it must refresh our weariness. But it worketh this only in the faithful, which believe that Christ is their Redeemer; for it bringeth unto the wicked nothing but dread, horror, and great fearfulness. And howsoever they do now scoff’ and jest when as they hear of his coming, yet shall they be compelled to behold him sitting upon his tribunal-seat, whom now they will not vouchsafe to hear speak. Furthermore, it were but frivolous to move any question about his apparel wherewith he was then clothed, whether he shall come again being clothed with the same or no. Neither am I now determined to refute that which Augustine, in his Epistle unto Consentius, doth touch, (August. ad Con. Epist. 146;) notwithstanding, it is better for me to omit that thing which I cannot unfold.

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas 12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk [b ] from the city.

1. Barnes, “Then returned they unto Jerusalem - In Luk_24:52, we are told that
they worshipped Jesus before they returned, and it is probable that the act of worship to which he refers was what is mentioned in this chapter their gazing intently on their departing Lord. From the mount called Olivet - From the Mount of Olives. See the notes on Mat_ 21:1. The part of the mountain from which he ascended was the eastern declivity, where stood the little village of Bethany, Luk_24:50. A sabbath-day’s journey - As far as might be lawfully traveled by a Jew on the Sabbath. This was 2,000 paces or cubits, or seven furlongs and a half - not quite one mile. See the notes On Mat_24:20. The distance of a lawful journey on the Sabbath was not fixed by the laws of Moses, but the Jewish teachers had fixed it at 2,000 paces. This measure was determined on because it was a tradition that in the camp of the Israelites,

when coming from Egypt, no part of the camp was more than 2000 paces from the tabernacle, and over this space, therefore, they were permitted to travel for worship. Perhaps, also, some countenance was given to this from the fact that this was the extent of the suburbs of the Levitical cities, Num_35:5. Mount Olivet was only 5 furlongs from Jerusalem, and Bethany was 15 furlongs. But on the eastern declivity of the mountain the tract of country was called, for a considerable space, the region of Bethany; and it was from this place that the Lord Jesus ascended.

2. Clarke, “A Sabbath day’s journey - See the difficulties in this verse explained in the note on Luk_24:50 (note). A Sabbath day’s journey was seven furlongs and a half. Olivet was but five furlongs from Jerusalem; and Bethany was fifteen. The first region or tract of Mount Olivet, which was called Bethany, was distant from the city a Sabbath day’s journey, or seven furlongs and a half; and the same distance did that tract called Bethphage extend from the city. When, therefore; our Lord came to the place where these two tracts touched each other, he there ascended, which place was distant from Jerusalem a Sabbath day’s journey, as St. Luke here remarks. See the notes referred to above.

3. Gill, “Then returned they unto Jerusalem,.... With great joy, after the angels
had told them that he should come again in like manner: from the mount called Olivet; which was on the east side of Jerusalem, a mountain Christ much frequented, and from whence he ascended to heaven. This is the hill which in 1Ki_11:7 is said to be "before Jerusalem"; and accordingly Jarchi interprets it of the Mount of Olives; and in Zec_14:4 it is expressly said to be "before Jerusalem on the east"; hence, when our Lord sat upon it, he is said to be over against the temple, Mar_ 13:3. It has its name from the multitude of olive trees which grew upon it: it is by the Jewish writers sometimes called ‫הר הזיתים‬, "the Mount of Olives" (n), as in Zec_14:4 and sometimes ‫( הר המשחה‬o), and ‫( טור משחא‬p), "the Mount of Oil"; i.e. of olive oil, which was made out of the olives that grew upon it. It is said, that in an old edition of the Latin version of this text it is called "the Mountain of Three Lights"; and this reason is given for it, because on the west side it was enlightened in the night by the continual fire of the altar in the temple; and on the east side it had the first beams of the sun before the city was enlightened with them; and it produced plenty of olives, by which the light is maintained in the lamps. Josephus (q) relates, that in the earthquake in the times of Uzziah, half part of this mountain, which was to the west, was divided from it, and was rolled four furlongs to the eastern part of it, so that the ways and king's gardens were stopped up, Which, is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. journey The Syriac version renders it, "about seven furlongs", or near a mile; though Josephus (r) writes, that the Mount of Olives was but five

furlongs from Jerusalem: perhaps this may be a mistake in the present copies of Josephus, since Chrysostom on this place cites this passage of Josephus, and reads seven furlongs; which exactly agrees with the Syriac version. A sabbath day's journey, according to the Jews, was two thousand cubits from any city or town, and which they often called, ‫תחום שבת‬, "the bound of the sabbath" (s); and which they collect partly from Num_35:4 which they understand thus (t): "a thousand cubits are the suburbs (of the city), and two thousand cubits the bounds of the sabbath. And these were so many middling paces; for so they say (u), "a walk of two thousand middling paces, this is the bound of the sabbath. And that this was the proper space they also gather from Jos_3:4 it being the distance between the ark and the people when they marched; and though this was not fixed by the law, yet being a tradition of the elders, was strictly observed by them: so when Ruth desired to become a proselytess, the Targumist on Rth_1:16 introduces Naomi thus speaking to her, "says Naomi, we are commanded to keep the sabbaths, and the good days, (or feasts,) and not to walk above "two thousand cubits"; i.e. on those days; for to go further was reckoned a profanation of them: so it is said (w), "the sabbath day is profaned with the hands by work, and with the feet by walking more than "two thousand cubits". Yea, this was punishable with beatings (x): "a man might go on the sabbath without the city two thousand cubits on every side--but if he went beyond two thousand cubits, they beat him with the beating of rebels, or in the same manner a rebellious son was beaten. Nay, not only they might not go out of a city or town where they were, further than this, but from whatsoever place they happened to be, as appears by these following rules (y),

"if anyone falls asleep in the way (or on the road), and he does not know that it was dark (and so that the sabbath is begun), he has two thousand cubits (allowed him) on every side.--Whoever is on a journey, and it is dark, and he knows a tree, or a hedge, and says, let my sabbath (or sabbatical seat) be under it, he says nothing; but if he says, let my sabbath be at the root of it, then he may go from the place of his feet, and to the root of it, two thousand cubits, and from the root of it to his house two thousand cubits; by which means he may go four thousand cubits after it is dark. But if he does not know (any), and is not expert in walking, and says, let my sabbath be in my place, (i.e. in which he stands,) then from his place he has two thousand cubits on every side. Hence, in some copies it is here inserted, "such being the distance that the Jews could walk"; that is, were allowed to walk by their canons. They call two thousand cubits a mile (z); and if the Mount of Olives was seven furlongs from Jerusalem, it was pretty near a mile; but if but five furlongs, it was little more than half a mile: perhaps the true distance might be six furlongs, since Josephus says (a), the tenth legion was ordered to encamp six furlongs from Jerusalem, at the Mount of Olives, which was over against the city to the east; agreeably to which Epiphanius (b), who had been a Jew, and was born in Palestine, says, "it was not lawful to go on the sabbath day beyond six furlongs, which were three quarters of a mile,

4. Henry, “We are here told, I. Whence Christ ascended - from the mount of Olives (Act_1:12), from that part of it where the town of Bethany stood, Luk_24:50. There he began his sufferings (Luk_22:39), and therefore there he rolled away the reproach of them by his glorious ascension, and thus showed that his passion and his ascension had the same reference and tendency. Thus would he enter upon his kingdom in the sight of Jerusalem, and of those undutiful ungrateful citizens of his that would not have him to reign over them. It was prophesied of him (Zec_14:4), That his feet should stand upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem, should stand last there; and presently it follows, The mount of Olives shall cleave in two. From the mount of Olives he ascended who is the good olive-tree, whence we receive the unction, Zec_4:12; Rom_11:24. This mount is here said to be near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey from it, that is, a little way; no further than devout people used to walk out on a sabbath evening, after the public worship was over, for meditation. Some reckon it a thousand paces, others two thousand cubits; some seven furlongs, others eight. Bethany indeed was fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem (Joh_11:18), but that part of the mount of Olives which was next to Jerusalem, whence Christ began to ride in triumph, was but seven or eight furlongs off. The Chaldee paraphrast on Ruth 1 says, We are commanded to keep the sabbaths and the holy days, so as not to go above two thousand cubits, which they build upon Jos_ 3:4, where, in their march through Jordan, the space between them and the ark was to

be two thousand cubits. God had not then thus limited them, but they limited themselves; and thus far it is a rule to us, not to journey on the sabbath any more than in order to the sabbath work; and as far as is necessary to this we are not only allowed, but enjoined, 2Ki_4:23. II. Whither the disciples returned: They came to Jerusalem, according to their Master's appointment, though there they were in the midst of enemies; but it should seem that though immediately after Christ's resurrection they were watched, and were in fear of the Jews, yet after it was known that they were gone into Galilee no notice was taken of their return to Jerusalem, nor any further search made for them. God can find out hiding-places for his people in the midst of their enemies, and so influence Saul that he shall not seek for David any more. At Jerusalem they went up into an upper room, and there abode; not that they all lodged and dieted together in one room, but there they assembled every day, and spent time together in religious exercises, in expectation of the descent of the Spirit. Divers conjectures the learned have about this upper room. Some think it was one of the upper rooms in the temple; but it cannot be thought that the chief priests, who had the letting of these rooms, would suffer Christ's disciples constantly to reside in any of them. It was said indeed, by the same historian, that they were continually in the temple (Luk_24:53), but that was in the courts of the temple, at the hours of prayer, where they could not be hindered from attending; but, it should seem, this upper room was in a private house. Mr. Gregory, of Oxford, is of this opinion, and quotes a Syriac scholiast upon this place, who says that it was the same upper room in which they had eaten the passover; and though that was called anōgeon, this huperōon, both may signify the same. “Whether,” says he, “it was in the house of St. John the evangelist, as Euodius delivered, or that of Mary the mother of John Mark, as others have collected, cannot be certain.”

5. Jamison, “Act_1:12-26. Return of the eleven to Jerusalem - Proceedings in the Upper Room till Pentecost. a sabbath day’s journey — about two thousand cubits. 6. RWP, “Act_1:12-26. Return of the eleven to Jerusalem - Proceedings in the Upper Room till Pentecost. a sabbath day’s journey — about two thousand cubits. 7. CALVI , "That he may pass over unto another history, he showeth that the disciples being returned unto Jerusalem, dwelt together in one parlor. For it was the upper part of the house, which used to be let out unto those which did hire houses; 46 for the most commodious places were reserved unto them that were masters of the house, (for their own use.) Wherefore, by this word Luke doth signify that they were driven into a strait room; 47 and yet, notwithstanding, though this commodity were great, yet they did not part asunder. They might have been more commodiously asunder, yet might they not part company before they had received the Spirit. In that he noteth here the distance of place, it bringeth credit unto the history. Unless, peradventure, he meant hereby to declare that they were not terrified with any fear of danger, but that they did all return and kept company together in one house, which was not so large, but that the company being greater than the place could well contain, it might breed some rumor (or noise.) A Sabbath-

day’s journey was two miles, and that account doth well agree with the place of John 11:18, where he saith, “that Jerusalem was distant from Bethany almost fifteen furlongs;” which containeth about a thousand and nine hundred paces. And the mount Olivet was at the side of Bethany. There was no Sabbath-day’s journey prescribed in the law; for the Lord doth command them simply to rest upon the Sabbath-day in the law. 48 But because the Jews could not easily be ruled, but that they would run abroad about their business upon the Sabbath-day, (as the Lord himself doth complain, “that they did bear burdens out at the gates,”) (Jeremiah 17:24,) therefore, it is to be thought that it was determined by the priests, 49 (to the end they might restrain such enormities,) that no man should travel upon the Sabbath-day above two miles. Although Jerome, in his Answers unto Algasia, doth say that this tradition did come from two Rabbins, namely, from Atriba, and from Simon Heli. 8. VWS, “A Sabbath-day's journey (σαββάτου σαββάτου ᅞχον ᆇδόν ᆇδόν)
Lit., having a Sabbath's way. The way conceived as belonging to the mountain; connected with it in reference to the neighborhood of Jerusalem. A Sabbath-day's journey, according to Jewish tradition, was about three-quarters of a mile. It was the supposed distance between the camp and the tabernacle in

13When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.

1. Barnes, “Were come in - To Jerusalem.
They went up into an upper room - The word ᆓπερሬον huperoōn, here translated “upper room,” occurs only four times in the New Testament: Act_9:37, “She (Dorcas) was sick and died; whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber” (see also Act_9:39); Act_20:8, “And there were many lights in the upper chamber where they were gathered together.” The room so designated was an upper chamber used for

devotion, or as a place where to lay the dead before burial, or occasionally for conversation, etc. Here it evidently means the place where they were assembled for devotion. Luk_24:53 says they were continually “in the temple” praising and blessing God; and some have supposed that the upper room here designated was one of the rooms in the temple. But there is no evidence of that, and it is not very probable. Such a room as that here referred to was a part of every house, especially in Jerusalem; and the disciples probably selected one where they might be together, and yet so retired that they might be safe from the Jews. The expression used in Luk_24:53, “They were continually - διαπαντός diapantos - in the temple,” signifies no more than that this was a frequent or customary resort; they were always in the temple at the usual seasons of devotion, or they were in the constant habit of resorting thither. “Even DeWette allows that there is no discrepancy.” Where abode - Where were remaining. This does not mean that this was their permanent habitation; but they remained there waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit. Peter ... - All the apostles were there which Jesus had at first chosen except Judas, Luk_6:13-16.

2. Clarke, “They went up into an upper room - This was either a room in the temple, or in the house of one of the disciples, where this holy company was accustomed to meet. In Luk_24:53, it is said that, after their return from Mount Olivet, they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God: it is probable, therefore, that the upper room mentioned in this verse is that apartment of the temple mentioned above. But still it is not certain that this place should be so understood; as we have the fullest proofs that the upper rooms in private houses were used for the purpose of reading the law, and conferring together on religious matters. See several proofs in Lightfoot. Add to this, that the room here mentioned seems to have been the place where all the apostles lodged, οᆓ ησαν καταµενοντες, and therefore most probably a private house.

3. Gill, “"Into it", as the Arabic version reads; that is, into the city of Jerusalem, and into
some house in that city; but what house it was is needless to inquire, since it cannot be known. Some think it was the house of John the Evangelist, whither he had taken Mary the mother of our Lord, Joh_19:27 which is not improbable: others, that it was the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where the disciples met for prayer when Peter was put into prison, Act_12:12 others, that it was the house of Simon the leper; but his house was not at Jerusalem, but in Bethany, Mat_26:6. Some have thought it was the house of Nicodemus, or of Joseph of Arimathea; but after all it seems most likely, that it was not any private house, but the temple into which the disciples immediately went, and where they continued; see Luk_24:52 and Act_2:46. they went up into an upper room; which, if in a private house, they might choose for retirement and secrecy; and might be the same in which they had eaten the passover; and so a Syriac scholiast, in manuscript, on the place, says it was the same. It was usual to meet in upper rooms for devotion and religious conversation; see Gill on Mar_2:4 though this upper room might be one of the chambers in the temple; for not only from the scriptural account of the temple, there were chambers round about it, and upper

chambers; see 1Ki_6:5 and one of these is called the chamber of Gemariah, in which Baruch read the prophecies of Jeremiah, Jer_36:10 but also from the Jewish writings, in which frequent mention is made of the chamber Palhedrin, where the high priest was brought seven days before the day of atonement (c); and the chamber of the counsellors (d); and the chamber Gazith, where the sanhedrim sat; and the chamber of the house of Abtines (e); and the chamber of wood; and the chamber of the lepers; and the chamber of the house of oil (f); and the chamber of salt; and the chamber of Parvah; and the chamber of them that wash, besides others (g). And into a chamber, or upper room in the temple they might be let by Joses Barnabas, a Levite, one of their own company, Act_4:36 who might have the care of it, for they are said to be continually in the temple, Luk_24:53. Where abode both Peter, and James, and John. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions read, "Peter, and John, and James"; and so the Alexandrian copy. These were the three favourite disciples of Christ, and are often mentioned together, as here first, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions put Matthew before Bartholomew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas, the brother of James; all the Oriental versions read, "Judas the son of James": of the names of the apostles; see Gill on Mat_10:2, Mat_10:3, Mat_10:4. They are all here mentioned but Judas the betrayer, who was dead, to show, that though one had disbelieved the resurrection of Christ, another had denied him, and all of them had forsook him, and fled; yet they were got together again, and were firm and steadfast in the faith of Christ, waiting for the pouring forth of the Spirit,

4. Henry, “Who the disciples were, that kept together. The eleven apostles are here named (Act_1:13), so is Mary the mother of our Lord (Act_1:14), and it is the last time that ever any mention is made of her in the scriptures. There were others that are here said to be the brethren of our Lord, his kinsmen according to the flesh; and, to make up the hundred and twenty spoken of (Act_1:15), we may suppose that all or most of the seventy disciples were with them, that were associates with the apostles, and were employed as evangelists. 5. Jamison, “went up into an upper room — perhaps the same “large upper room” where with their Lord they had celebrated the last Passover and the first Supper (Luk_22:12). where abode — not lodged, but had for their place of rendezvous. Peter, etc. — (See on Mat_10:2-4).

6. RWP, “Into the upper chamber (eis to huperōion). The upstairs or upper room
(huper is upper or over, the adjective huperōios), the room upstairs where the women staid in Homer, then a room up under the flat roof for retirement or prayer (Act_9:37, Act_9:39), sometimes a large third story room suitable for gatherings (Act_20:9). It is

possible, even probable, that this is the “large upper room” (anōgeon mega) of Mar_ 14:15; Luk_22:12. The Vulgate has coenaculum for both words. The word is used in the N.T. only in Acts. It was in a private house as in Luk_22:11 and not in the temple as Luk_24:53 might imply, “continually” (dia pantos) these words probably meaning on proper occasions. They were abiding (ēsan katamenontes). Periphrastic imperfect active. Perfective use of

kata, to abide permanently. It is possible that this is the house of Mary the mother of
John Mark where the disciples later met for prayer (Act_12:12). Here alone in the N.T., though old compound. Some MSS. here read paramenontes. This could mean constant residence, but most likely frequent resort for prayer during these days, some being on hand all the time as they came and went. Simon the Zealot (Simon ho Zēlōtēs). Called Simon the Cananaean (ho Cananaios) in Mat_10:4, Mar_3:18, but Zealot in Luk_6:16 as here giving the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic word because Luke has Gentiles in mind. The epithet (member of the party of Zealots) clung to him after he became an apostle and distinguishes him from Simon Peter. See note in Volume 1 on the Gospel of Matthew for discussion of the four lists of the apostles. Judas the son of James (Joudas Iakōbou). Literally, Judas of James, whether son or brother (cf. Jud_1:1) we do not really know. “Of James” is added to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot (Joh_14:22). However we take it, he must be identified with the Thaddaeus (=Lebbaeus) of Mark and Matthew to make the list in the third group identical. No name appears in Acts for that of Judas Iscariot.

7. CALVI , "Where they abode Some translate it, where they did abide; as though they did use to dwell there. But I am of that opinion, that they did then first of all use that hired room to dwell together in, until such time as the Holy Spirit was come upon them. Too, too ridiculous are the Papists, which go about to prove Peter his supremacy 50 hereby, because he is reckoned up first of all the apostles. Although we do grant that he was the chiefest of the apostles, yet it doth not follow hereupon that he was the chiefest ruler of all the world. But if he be, therefore, the chief of all the apostles, because his name is first in the catalogue of the apostles’ names, I will again conclude, that the mother of Christ was inferior unto all the rest of the women, because she is [here] reckoned the last; which they will in no case admit, as indeed it were a thing too absurd. Wherefore, unless they will set their Papacy to be laughed at of all men, as hitherto they have done, they must leave off to adorn it with such foolish toys. But what is their intent? Forsooth, they will prove out of the Scriptures that there was a secondary head of the Church, inferior to Christ; whereas there is no syllable in the Scripture which is consenting unto this their foolish invention. o marvel is it, therefore, if they do snatch here and there certain places, which, although no man smite them out of their hands, they will let fall of their own accord. But omitting them, let us mark what is Luke’s purpose in this place. Because the disciples had fallen away, and filthily fled from their Master Christ, every man whither fear did drive him, (Matthew 26:56,) they did deserve, like forsakers of their masters, or run-agates, to be deprived of honor. Therefore,

that we may know that by the appointment of the Lord they were gathered together again, and restored to their former degree, Luke reckoneth up all their names. 8. VWS, “An upper room (τᆵ ᆓπερሬον ᆓπερሬον)
With the article, denoting some well-known place of resort. It was the name given to the room directly under the flat roof. Such rooms were often set apart as halls for meetings. In such an apartment Paul delivered his farewell address at Troas (Act_20:8), and the body of Dorcas was laid (Act_9:37). Used by Luke only. Abode (ᅬσαν καταµένοντες καταµένοντες) The participle and finite verb, denoting continuance or habitual residence. Hence more correctly, as Rev., “where they were abiding.”

14They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

1. Barnes, “These all continued ... - The word “continued” denotes “persevering and constant attention.” The main business was devotion. Act_6:4, “we will give ourselves continually to the ministry of the word.” Rom_12:12, “continuing instant in prayer”; Rom_13:6, “Attending continually upon this very thing.” It is their main and constant employment. Compare Col_4:2.
With one accord - Greek: ᆇµοθυµαδόν homothumadon - “with one mind.” The word denotes the entire harmony of their views and feelings. There were no schisms, no divided interests, no discordant purposes. This is a beautiful picture of devotion, and a specimen of what social worship ought now to be, and a beautiful illustration of Psa_ 133:1-3. The apostles felt that they had one great object; and their deep grief at the loss of their master, and their doubts and perplexities, led them, as all afflictions ought to lead us, to the throne of grace. In prayer and supplication - These words are nearly synonymous, and are often interchanged. They express here petitions to God for blessings, and prayer to avert impending evils. With the women - The women that had followed the Lord Jesus from Galilee, Luk_ 8:2-3, Luk_8:23, Luk_8:49, Luk_8:55; Luk_24:10; Mat_27:55. The women particularly mentioned are Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, the mother of

Zebedee’s children, Joanna the wife of Chuza, and Susanna. Besides these, there were others whose names are not mentioned. Most of them were relatives of the apostles or of the Saviour; and it is not improbable that some of them were wives of the apostles. Peter is known to have been married Mat_8:14, and had his wife in attendance with him in his travels 1Co_9:5; and the same was doubtless true of some of the other apostles, 1Co_ 9:5.- Mary, the mother of Jesus, is here particularly mentioned, showing that she now cast in her lot with the apostles. She had, besides, been specially entrusted to the care of John Joh_19:26-27, and had no other home. This is the last time that she is mentioned in the New Testament. And with his brethren - See the notes on Mat_12:46. At first they had been unbelieving about the claims of Jesus Joh_7:5; but it seems that they had been subsequently converted.

2. Clarke, “These - continued - in prayer and supplication - Waiting for the
promise of the Father, according to the direction of our Lord, Luk_24:49. The words και τᇽ δεησει, and in supplication, are omitted by ABC*DE, both the Syriac, the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, Itala, and some of the primitive fathers. On this evidence, Griesbach has left them out of the text; and others contend for the propriety of this omission, because, say they, τᇽ προσευχᇽ and τᇽ δεησει, prayer and supplication, mean the same thing. Whether the reading be genuine or spurious, this inference is not just. Prayer may simply imply any address to God, in the way of petition or request; supplication, the earnest, affectionate, and continued application to God for the blessing requested from him by prayer. Prayer asks, supplication expostulates, entreats, urges and re-urges the petition. With the women - Probably those who had been witnesses of his resurrection, with the immediate relatives of the apostles. Peter we know was married, Mat_8:14, and so might others of the disciples; and therefore the wives of the apostles, as well as of other pious men, may be here intended.

3. Gill, “These all continued, with one accord, in prayer and supplication,.... For the promise of the Spirit Christ had given them reason to expect; and that they might be preserved from their enemies, and kept faithful to their Lord; and be abundantly qualified for the preaching of the Gospel, and succeeded in it; and that their hearts might be comforted, and knit together in love: and they were unanimous in their requests, and so were under the promise of being heard; and in this work they were constant, and assiduous, and followed it with importunity. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions leave out the last clause, "and supplication"; and so likewise the Alexandrian copy: "with the women"; that followed Christ from Galilee, and were at his cross, and at his grave; among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Salome the wife of Zebedee. Some render the words, "with their wives"; the wives of the apostles; and as many as had wives, no doubt but they were with them; and it was necessary they should be, that they might be strengthened and confirmed in the faith of Christ. Beza's most ancient copy adds, "and children",
and Mary the mother of Jesus. This is the last we hear of her; how long she lived

after this, is not certain: her continuance with the apostles of Christ shows her religion and piety, and was both for the increase of her faith, and spiritual comfort: and with his brethren; See Gill on Mat_13:55.

4. Henry, “How they spent their time: They all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. Observe, 1. They prayed, and made supplication. All God's people are praying people, and give themselves to prayer. It was now a time of trouble and danger with the disciples of Christ; they were as sheep in the midst of wolves; and, Is any afflicted? Let him pray; this will silence cares and fears. They had new work before them, great work, and, before they entered upon it, they were instant in prayer to God for his presence with them in it. Before they were first sent forth Christ spent time in prayer for them, and now they spent time in prayer for themselves. They were waiting for the descent of the Spirit upon them, and therefore abounded thus in prayer. The Spirit descended upon our Saviour when he was praying, Luk_3:21. Those are in the best frame to receive spiritual blessings that are in a praying frame. Christ had promised now shortly to send the Holy Ghost; now this promise was not to supersede prayer, but to quicken and encourage it. God will be enquired of for promised mercies, and the nearer the performance seems to be the more earnest we should be in prayer for it. 2. They continued in prayer, spent much time in it, more than ordinary, prayed frequently, and were long in prayer. They never missed an hour of prayer; they resolved to persevere herein till the Holy Ghost came, according to the promise, to pray, and not to faint. It is said (Luk_24:53), They were praising and blessing God; here, They continued in prayer and supplication; for as praise for the promise is a decent way of begging for the performance, and praise for former mercy of begging further mercy, so, in seeking to God, we give him the glory of the mercy and grace which we have found in him. 3. They did this with one accord. This intimates that they were together in holy love, and that there was no quarrel nor discord among them; and those who so keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace are best prepared to receive the comforts of the Holy Ghost. It also intimates their worthy concurrence in the supplications that were made; though but one spoke, they all prayed, and if, when two agree to ask, it shall be done for them, much more when many agree in the same petition. See Mat_18:19.

5. Jamison, “continued with one accord — knit by a bond stronger than death.
in prayer and supplication — for the promised baptism, the need of which in their orphan state would be increasingly felt. and Mary the mother of Jesus — distinguished from the other “women,” but “so as to exclude the idea of her having any pre-eminence over the disciples. We find her with the rest in prayer to her glorified Son” [Webster and Wilkinson]. This is the last mention of her in the New Testament. The fable of the Assumption of the Virgin has no foundation even in tradition [Alford]. with his brethren — (See on Joh_7:3).

6. RWP, “With one accord (homothumadon). Old adverb in don from adjective
homothumos and that from homos, same, and thumos, mind or spirit, with the same mind

or spirit. Common in ancient Greek and papyri. In the N.T. eleven times in Acts and nowhere else save Rom_15:6. See note on Mat_18:19. Continued (ēsan proskarterountes). Periphrastic imperfect active of proskartereō, old verb from pros (perfective use) and kartereō from karteros, strong, steadfast, like the English “carry on.” Already in Mar_3:9 which see and several times in Acts and Paul’s Epistles. They “stuck to” the praying (tēi proseuchēi, notearticle) for the promise of the Father till the answer came. With the women (sun gunaixin). Associative instrumental case plural of gunē after sun. As one would expect when praying was the chief work on hand. More women certainly included than in Luk_8:2; Mar_15:40.; Mat_27:55.; Luk_23:49; Mar_15:47; Mat_ 27:61; Luk_23:55.; Mar_16:1; Mat_28:1; Luk_24:1.; Joh_20:1, Joh_20:11-18; Mat_ 28:9. There were probably other women also whose testimony was no longer scouted as it had been at first. Codex Bezae adds here “and children.” And Mary the mother of Jesus (kai Mariam tēi mētri tou Iēsou). A delicate touch by Luke that shows Mary with her crown of glory at last. She had come out of the shadow of death with the song in her heart and with the realization of the angel’s promise and the prophecy of Simeon. It was a blessed time for Mary. With his brethren (sun tois adelphois autou). With his brothers, it should be translated. They had once disbelieved in him (Joh_7:5). Jesus had appeared to James (1Co_15:7) and now it is a happy family of believers including the mother and brothers (halfbrothers, literally) of Jesus. They continue in prayer for the power from on high.

7. Calvin, “With their wives Some translate it women; and they think that he speaketh of those which accompanied Christ. As I will not contend with any man concerning this matter, so have I not doubted to prefer that which I thought was more probable. I grant that the word which Luke useth may be interpreted both ways. But this is my reason, why I do think that he speaketh rather of wives, because, seeing that they used afterward to carry their wives about with them, as Paul doth testify, (1 Corinthians 9:5,) it is not likely that they were then asunder. For they might more easily rest together in one place, than by wandering to and fro oftentimes to change their abiding; and, secondly, seeing that they did look for the coming of the Holy Ghost, which was even then at hand, what reason was there why they should deprive their wives of so great goodness? Peter’s wife was about to be a helper unto him shortly after, which we must also think of the rest of the wives. These women had need of heroical fortitude and constancy, lest they should faint. Who would, therefore, think that they were excluded from their husbands whilst they look for the coming of the Spirit? But if they will stick to the general word, it standeth with reason that there were married women in the company. Howsoever it be, it is Luke’s mind to tell us by the way how greatly they had changed their minds. 51 For whereas before the men, being afraid, had fled away, the women are gathered together with them now, neither do they fear any danger. He doth reckon up the mother of Jesus with the other women, whom, notwithstanding, John is said to have kept at his own house. But, as I have said before, they met altogether now only for a short season; for it is not to be doubted but that they departed one from another afterwards. It is well known that

amongst the Hebrews all kinsfolk are comprehended under this word brethren. All these did continue. Here he showeth that they did diligently look for the coming of the Holy Spirit.; For this was the cause of their prayer, that Christ would send his Spirit, as he had promised. Whereupon we may gather that this is the true faith which stirreth us up to call upon God. For the security of faith doth much differ from sluggishness. Neither doth God, therefore, assure us of this grace, that our minds may straightway become careless, but that he may rather sharpen our desire to pray. Neither is prayer any sign of doubting, but rather a testimony of our (sure hope and) confidence, because we ask those things at the Lord’s hands which we know he hath promised. So it becometh us also (after their example) to be instant in prayer, 52 and to beg at God’s hands that he will increase in us his Holy Spirit: 53 increase, (I say,) because before we can conceive any prayer we must needs have the first-fruits of the Spirit. For as much as he is the only Master which teacheth us to pray aright, who doth not only give us utterance, (Romans 2:25,) but also governs our inward affections. Furthermore, Luke doth express two things which are proper to true prayer, namely, that they did persist, and that they were all of one mind. This was an exercise of their patience, in that Christ did make them stay a while, 54 when as he could straightway have sent the Holy Spirit; so God doth oftentimes drive off, 55 and, as it were, suffer us to languish, that he may accustom us to persevere. The hastiness of our petitions is a corrupt, yea a hurtful plague; wherefore it is no marvel if God do sometimes correct the same. In the mean season (as I have said) he doth exercise us to be constant in prayer. Therefore, if we will not pray in vain, let us not be wearied with the delay of time. As touching the unity of their minds, it is set against that scattering abroad, which fear had caused before. Yet, notwithstanding, we may easily gather, even by this, how needful a thing it is to pray generally, in that Christ commandeth every one to pray for the whole body, and generally for all men, as it were, in the person of all men: Our Father, Give us this day, etc., (Matthew 6:9.) Whence cometh this unity of their tongues but from one Spirit? Wherefore, when Paul would prescribe unto the Jews and Gentiles a right form of prayer, he removeth far away all division and dissension. That we may, (saith he,) being all of one mind, with one mouth glorify God, (Romans 15:6.) And truly it is needful that we be brethren, and agree together like brethren, that we rightly call God Father.

15In those days Peter stood up among the believers[c ] (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)

1. Barnes, “In those days - On one of the days intervening between the ascension of Jesus and the day of Pentecost. Peter stood up - Peter standing up, or rising. This is a customary expression in the Scriptures when one begins to do a thing, Luk_15:18. The reason why Peter did this may be seen in the notes on Mat_16:16-17. It is not improbable, besides, that Peter was the most aged of the apostles; and from his uniform conduct we know that he was the most ardent. It was perfectly characteristic, therefore, for him to introduce the business of the election of a new apostle. The disciples - This was the name, which was given to them as being learners in the school of Christ. See the notes on Mat_5:1. The number of the names - The number of the persons, or individuals. The word “name” is often used to denote “the person,” Rev_3:4; Act_4:12; Act_18:15; Eph_1:21. In Syriac it is, “The assembly of people was about an hundred and twenty.” This was the first assembly convened to transact the business of the church; and it is not a little remarkable that the vote in so important a matter as electing apostle was by the entire church. It settles the question that the election of a minister and pastor should be by the church, and that a pastor should not be placed over a church by a patron, or by an ecclesiastical body. If a case could ever occur where it would be right and proper that one should be selected to exercise the office of a minister of Christ by the ministry only, the election of one to fall the office of an apostle was such a case. And yet in this the entire church had a voice. Whether this was all the true church at this time does not appear from the history. This expression cannot mean that there were no more Christians, but that these were all that had convened in the upper room. It is certain that our Saviour had, by his own ministry, brought many others to be his true followers. Compare 1Co_ 15:6.

2. Clarke, “In the midst of the disciples - Μαθητων; but instead of this, αδελφων,
brethren, is the reading of ABC, a few others, with the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Vulgate. This seems the best reading, because of what immediately follows; for it was not among the disciples merely that he stood, but among the whole company, which amounted to one hundred and twenty. It is remarkable that this was the number which the Jews required to form a council in any city; and it is likely that in reference to this the disciples had gathered together, with themselves, the number of one hundred and twenty, chosen out of the many who had been already converted by the ministry of our Lord, the twelve disciples, and the seventy-two whom he had sent forth to preach, Luk_ 10:1, etc., thus they formed a complete council in presence of which the important business of electing a person in the place of Judas was to be transacted.

3. Gill, “And in those days Peter stood up,.... That is, in one of the days after
Christ's ascension, and before the day of Pentecost, whilst the disciples were waiting for the promise of the Spirit. The Ethiopic version reads, "on that day"; as if it was the same

day they came first into Jerusalem, and went into the upper room; and which is likely enough; for no time was to be lost in choosing one in the room of Judas; when Peter, not only as a forward person, and who had been used to be the first mover and actor in any affair; but as willing to show his zeal for Christ, whom he had so lately denied, and as being the senior man in company, as well as the minister of the circumcision, rises, and stands up, as persons used to do, when about to make an oration, and in respect and reverence to the persons addressed: in the midst of the disciples; not only the other ten, but the whole hundred and twenty. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, read, "in the midst of the brethren", and so reads the Vulgate Latin version; and the Ethiopic version, "in the midst of his own brethren", and he said what is expressed in the following verses, which before the historian relates, he inserts in a parenthesis this clause, the number of the names; that is, of persons; see Rev_11:13. Some copies read, "of the men", and so the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions; who together, all put together in one sum, or as meeting together in one and the same place, or as agreeing in the same faith and judgment, so the Arabic version, "and there was there a company whose names and wills agreed in this same opinion"; they were all in one place, and of the same mind; and the sum of them were about an hundred and twenty; among whom were the eleven apostles, and seventy disciples, which made eighty one; so that there were thirty nine persons more in this company: not that it is to be thought that these were all that were in Jerusalem that believed in Christ; but these were the number of the persons that met and embodied together in a church state, and who not only gave themselves to the Lord, but to one another, by the will of God; and their names being taken and registered, the historian calls the account of them, the number of the names, and not persons; though he means persons. This was a number pretty famous among the Jews; the sanhedrim of Ezra, called the men of the great synagogue, consisted of an "hundred and twenty elders"; the last of which was Simeon the just, and he comprehended the hundred and twenty (h). And such a number was requisite for a sanhedrim in any place; it is asked, "how many must there be in a city, that it may be fit for a sanhedrim? "an hundred and twenty"; R. Nehemiah says two hundred and thirty (i): but the decision is according to the former: hence they say (k), that "they fix in every city in Israel, where there is an "hundred and twenty", or more, a lesser sanhedrim.---A city in which there is not an hundred and twenty, they place three judges, for there is no sanhedrim less than three.

4. Henry, “The sin of Judas was not only his shame and ruin, but it made a vacancy in the college of the apostles. They were ordained twelve, with an eye to the twelve tribes of Israel, descended from the twelve patriarchs; they were the twelve stars that make up the church's crown (Rev_12:1), and for them twelve thrones were designated, Mat_ 19:28. Now being twelve when they were learners, if they were but eleven when they were to be teachers, it would occasion every one to enquire what had become of the

twelfth, and so revive the remembrance of the scandal of their society; and therefore care was taken, before the descent of the Spirit, to fill up the vacancy, of the doing of which we now have an account, our Lord Jesus, probably, having given directions about it, among other things which he spoke pertaining to the kingdom of God. Observe, I. The persons concerned in this affair. 1. The house consisted of about a hundred and twenty. This was the number of the names, that is, the persons; some think the men only, distinguished from the women. Dr. Lightfoot reckons that the eleven apostles, the seventy disciples, and about thirty-nine more, all of Christ's own kindred, country, and concourse, made up this one hundred and twenty, and that these were a sort of synod, or congregation of ministers, a standing presbytery (Act_4:23), to whom none of the rest durst join themselves (Act_5:13), and that they continued together till the persecution at Stephen's death dispersed them all but the apostles (Act_8:1); but he thinks that besides these there were many hundreds in Jersualem, if not thousands, at this time, that believed; and we have indeed read of many that believed on him there, but durst not confess him, and therefore I cannot think, as he does, that they were now formed into distinct congregations, for the preaching of the word and other acts of worship; nor that there was any thing of this till after the pouring out of the Spirit, and the conversions recorded in the following chapter. Here was the beginning of the Christian church: this hundred and twenty was the grain of mustard-seed that grew into a tree, the leaven that leavened the whole lump. 2. The speaker was Peter, who had been, and still was, the most forward man; and therefore notice is taken of his forwardness and zeal, to show that he had perfectly recovered the ground he lost by his denying his Master, and, Peter being designed to be the apostle of the circumcision, while the sacred story stays among the Jews, he is still brought in, as afterwards, when it comes to speak of the Gentiles, it keeps to the story of Paul. II. The proposal which Peter made for the choice of another apostle. He stood up in the midst of the disciples, Act_1:15. He did not sit down, as one that gave laws, or had any supremacy over the rest, but stood up, as one that had only a motion to make, in which he paid a deference to his brethren, standing up when he spoke to them. Now in his speech we may observe, 1. The account he gives of the vacancy made by the death of Judas, in which he is very particular, and, as became one that Christ had breathed upon, takes notice of the fulfilling of the scriptures in it.

5. MEYER, “It may be that the Apostles were acting upon Christ’s directions, when
they proceeded to the election of a successor to Judas. There was awe in Peter’s voice, as he describes the traitor as the guide of the arresting band, although he had been numbered with the Apostles and had obtained part in their ministry. It was as though Peter felt that it might have been himself. He and the rest had stood at the brink of the precipice over which Judas had flung himself. Evidently there were favored and humble men who, though they did not belong to the brotherhood, had been allowed to company with the Apostles, and had been witnesses of the marvelous story as it had been unrolled before their eyes. They were thus able to give their testimony first-hand. What an honor had been theirs! And now one of them was summoned to take the place of Judas. His qualification was his ability to bear witness to the Resurrection, Act_1:22. That was the salient point in the primitive evangel. But cannot we all bear witness to it? What but the resurrection of Jesus can account for the hot springs of religious fervor that arise in our wintry hearts!

6. RWP, “Brethren (adelphōn). Codex Bezae has “disciples.”
Multitude of persons (ochlos onomatōn). Literally, multitude of names. This Hebraistic use of onoma = person occurs in the lxx (Numbers 1:2; 18:20; 3:40, 43; 26:53) and in Rev_3:4; Rev_11:13. Together (epi to auto). The word “gathered” is not in the Greek here, but it does occur in Mat_22:34 and that is undoubtedly the idea in Luk_17:35 as in Act_2:1, Act_2:44, Act_2:47; 1Co_11:20; 1Co_14:23. So also here. They were in the same place (to auto). About a hundred and twenty (hōs hekaton eikosi). A crowd for “the upper room.” No special significance in the number 120, just the number there.

7. HAWKER, "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said,
(the number of names together were about a hundred and twenty,) (16) Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. (17) For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. (18) Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. (19) And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. (20) For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take. (21) Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, (22) Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. The day here spoken of means one of the ten days in the interval from the Lord’s ascension, to the descent of the Holy Ghost. I beg the Reader to notice, what Peter saith of the Holy Ghost’s speaking by David. A plain proof, in confirmation of what hath been before remarked in this Chapter, both of the Person, and Godhead, and Ministry, of the Almighty Spirit, in the Old Testament dispensation. God the Holy Ghost was now going to make a more sensible, and open manifestation of himself, as God the Father, and God the Son, had done, in their office characters, as the next Chapter shews; but He had, it is plain, as the Founder of the Church, all along been presiding over the Church, and directing all the affairs of it, 2Pe_1:21. And I beg the Reader also to remark with me, what Peter saith of the needs be there was, for the fulfilling of that scripture concerning Judas. Yes! The decrees and appointments of Jehovah are sure and certain. But the infamy of the traitor is not lessened by the sovereign ordinations of the Lord. In all foul transactions, the sin is the same; though the Lord overrules it to the divine glory, Act_ 2:23-24; Jud_1:4. And I pray the Reader also to notice, what Peter saith of Judas having been chosen into the number of the twelve Apostles, and having obtained part of the ministry. In addition to what hath been already observed, respecting the appointment of Judas to the Apostleship, and the obtaining part of the ministry, I would just say further, that it is in my view the mercy of the Church, to have these things always in

remembrance. The part of the ministry Judas obtained, and the being numbered with the Apostles, had not a single act of grace in the whole. He had no part in Christ, we are very sure, Neither was he ever numbered in the book of life. And he therefore stands forth, an everlasting monument in the Church of the Lord Jesus; never to judge of men by outward things, nor outward privileges. The only well grounded cause for joy, is when our names are found to be written in the book of life, Luk_10:19-20. I hope the Reader will also pay suitable attention, to what Peter hath said, of the prophetic Psalm, concerning Judas; and which, on his account, is strikingly called the Iscariotic Psalm. What, but a spirit of prophecy could have spoken so pointedly to the person, and crimes of the traitor? The desolate habitation, or palace, is also mentioned in the 69th Psalm, 25th verse (Psa_69:25). It is remarkable, that there should be exactly thirty specific curses in the 109th Psalm (Ps 109), as if corresponding to the thirty pieces of silver, for which the traitor sold his master. But what is most to be attended to, in the Psalm, and the Apostle’s application of it is, that Peter drew his conclusion from it, that it was the will of the Holy Ghost, another should take his office. His days in the office were indeed few, and soon it became another’s, Psa_109:8. In relation to what is said of Judas purchasing a field with the reward of iniquity, and falling headlong until his bowels gushed out: these things are not contrary to what is said of his hanging himself, Mat_27:3-5. For it was his ill-gotten money, with which the field was afterwards bought. And it is possible, that he might have fallen from the place to which he had hung himself, after he was dead, and perhaps hung long there, and such a consequence might have followed. But what an awful end! And what an awful character!

8. BI, “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples.
Peter’s attitude Mark the bearing of Peter towards his fellow-believers. No priestly attitude does he assume. Though he leads, he associates the whole assembly with himself. He will have them to choose candidates for the apostleship; he accepts their nomination; and though it is all but certain that in laying these two before the Lord, he was the spokesman, this is not said. Nor was it only on this first occasion, when he might be supposed rather to shrink, that he thus acted, but on every subsequent occasion his procedure was in keeping with this. So little ground is there not only for the lordly assumptions of those who call themselves successors of “the prince of the apostles,” but for that ecclesiastical ambition which has proved the bane and blight of many who repudiate Romish pretensions. (D. Brown, D. D.)

A model church meeting This was a meeting— I. To transact business of very grave importance. To elect an apostle—an eye-witness of the resurrection—in the place of Judas. The resurrection is the key-stone of the Christian system. The fact was so extraordinary, and clashed so mightily with popular prejudices that no one would dare to proclaim it who had not been deeply convinced of it by irresistible evidence. To be able to do this was necessary to constitute an apostle. II. In which the assembled members had a duty to fulfil, and all of them, male and

female, were called upon to exercise their best judgment, and to give their conscientious vote. The candidates were set up not by the apostles, but by the whole body of disciples. The appointment of ministers is not the right of an individual, however distinguished in Church and state, but by the assembled Church. III. Competent in itself to discharge the business. They sought no counsel from any body of men external to themselves, nor would they have submitted to dictation from any person or society outside, however dignified. The power of a Church for its own business is in itself inspired and guided by Christ its Head. IV. Superintended by its ablest member. Peter’s conduct shows that he was the most competent—the man to direct affairs. Observe— 1. His sketch of the miserable man who had once occupied the vacant post. 2. His counsel as to present duty. Peter’s principle was that the new apostle should be selected from those who were most intimate with the Master—a principle to be for ever observed. He only is qualified for the highest office in the Church whose alliance with Christ is most vital. V. In which they engaged in united prayer to heaven for direction. The prayer implies— 1. A recognition of the Divine omniscience. A deep impression of God’s acquaintance with all hearts is essential to devotion. 2. A desire to have their choice regulated by the Divine. “We only desire to vote for Him whom Thou hast ordained.” Conclusion: Would that all church meetings had ever been ruled by this model. Gathered not for trivial but important business; recognising the right of every member to a voice; holding the power to transact all its affairs independently of external authority, etc. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Preparing for ecclesiastical business Notice that the company was— 1. Comparatively small. But it was the first part of Christ’s mighty kingdom. Despise not the day of small things. 2. Business-like. “Names” suggests that a list was probably drawn up—a sign of intelligence and earnestness. 3. Imperfect. One place was vacant, and the company could not be content till it was filled. 4. Every member of it acknowledged the authority of Holy Scripture. The company was prepared— I. By being adequately instructed. Peter’s speech showed— 1. That the place of Judas must be filled up. The number of apostles followed that of the twelve tribes of Israel. They were commonly designated as “the Twelve,” both before and after the death of Judas. 2. That the whole assembly must take part in filling up the vacancy. 3. That the Word of God was to give the assembly present direction. 4. That definite qualifications were required in an apostle. 5. That a definite work had to be done by the apostles. This instruction probably cleared up vague thinkings for many a member of the company. II. By being strongly warned against sin. In the case of Judas they saw— 1. Sin working in one who had held office under Jesus—the Saviour from sin. What qualifications had they which Judas had not had? Yet sin turned him out of his

office. Then let all beware. 2. Sin working in one who had been chosen for office by Jesus Himself. 3. Sin growing to great enormity. 4. Sin making its perpetrator infamous. 5. Sin ending in a doom of darkness. Conclusion: Here we see— 1. The true primacy of Peter. He led in preparation, interpretation and prayer. The fulfilment of the words, “Thou art Peter,” etc., is here begun. The foundation is not the confession, but the man (Gal_2:9; Eph_2:20; 1Ti_3:15; 1Pe_2:4-6). Christ is the one foundation stone (1Co_3:11); but there is also a foundation of the apostles and prophets, and this is laid in Peter. Accordingly he founded the Jewish portion of the Church, as we see in the early chapters of this book. On him, standing on Christ, were laid in one day three thousand souls. And he also founded the Gentile portion (chaps. 10., 11.). But Peter had no special primacy of rank after his own special work was completed. And he could have no successor. 2. The true functions of the preacher. Peter gave the sense of Scripture, and applied it to the circumstances of the time so directing the hearers. The Acts is the best treatise on homiletics. 3. A good example for all Christians. Under Peter’s direction the company prayed, considered their duty, and so proceeded to action—prayer, meditation, work, describe the whole sphere of Christian duty. (W. Hudson.)

The premature election 1. “In those days” Peter “stood up.” It was a pity he did so, for he had been told to sit down. But who can wait ten days? Yet those periods of waiting are interposed in every life, for the trial of patience and for the perfecting of faith. “They also serve who only stand and wait.” “Stand still and see the salvation of God.” “Your strength is to sit still.” But Peter was a man who could not wait. He was always more or less of a talkative man. Instead of embodying it in patience and endurance his energy evaporated in speech. He will become a better man by and by; yes, even in this opening speech, he begins to show that delicacy of touch which made him conspicuous amid all the apostolic writers. It was to be feared that he would begin with a mistake, because he ended with one (Joh_21:21). The fussy church must be doing something, if it is only mischief; the mechanical church cannot stand still; they consider that if they are walking up and down very much, they are doing something, but if they be sitting quietly still in expectancy and eager love, they are doing nothing. Peter will have a vote taken, or a ballot; he will complete the broken circle— he who broke the circle most. 2. Peter begins where all wise teachers begin, if they would continue efficiently, and conclude beneficently. He founds what he has to say upon the Scriptures. This is the peculiarity of Christian teaching: it founds itself upon the Written Word. Even where there may be differences of interpretation, it rests upon something deeper than merely verbal exposition. Herein is that sublime possibility of all Christian sections being substantially and integrally right. It is the spirit that unites, it is the letter that divides and kills. It is quite possible for a heterodox man to have an orthodox spirit, and it is by his spirit that he will be saved, and not by his letter. 3. Grounding himself upon Scripture, and only partially interpreting it, Peter proceeded

to take a ballot for an apostle to succeed the apostate Judas. Who asked him to rise and address the disciples at all? The disciples were told to wait for the baptism of power. Peter was not endued with the Holy Ghost in the Pentecostal sense when he made this speech. The conditions of succession to the apostolate are very beautiful (verses 21, 22). That is the law of the ministry to-day. “Lay hands suddenly on no man.” The Christian ministry must be composed of men who have “companied with us” and known the Lord Jesus Christ all the time. You cannot make ministers; they must be born, not of blood, etc. This is the mischief against which we have to guard, that you can buy ministers with money. This genius is not in the market. 4. Having elected two men for choice, the disciples prayed: they left the case in the hands of God, but unfortunately they had first taken it into their own. Never take your own case into your own hand. Persons say, “Be prudent”—if ever you can for a moment sit yourself down, resolving to be prudent, God has forsaken you! Persons say, “Beware of exaggeration, of enterprises that are dangerous”—those persons never did anything for the world; they cannot; cold water never drove an engine, and a body without wings never knew the danger, the mystery, the joy of flight. Seek an inspired life. So the apostles committed themselves in prayer to God for guidance. So would I take every matter to God day by day. 5. The disciples gave forth their lots. How pitiful. In a few more days they will have had the Holy Ghost. There are men now who would decide everything by lot: it seems a short and easy method, but it is no method in the house of God; we are now under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. There is no such way of discovering God’s thought. We do not decide things by lot in our own narrow sphere, nor do we carry things unanimously ourselves. Thus, these are the voters that live in you—Judgment, Self-interest, immediate Success, Curiosity, Speculation, Family considerations, Health, Time, and some twenty more voters all have a seat in the council of your mind. Now those who are in favour of this course say, “Aye,” those who oppose say, “No,” and then you, that innermost You, says, “The ayes have it—or the noes,” so that in reality you do not carry your own personal decisions unanimously. Sometimes your judgment does not vote at all, then the resolution is said to be carried nem. con. Sometimes you carry your resolutions unanimously, the whole man stands up and says, “Let it be done.” When I have wished in critical hours to know what was right, I have submitted myself to three tests— (1) What is my own deepest conviction. (2) What is the concurrent voice of my most trusted counsellors. (3) What is the fair inference from conspiring circumstances? With these, I have said, “There is none other than God’s will: if it be not, Lord, stop me. Not my will but Thine be done.” 6. In the case before us the lot fell upon Matthias, and you hear no more about him. I do not want to be a balloted minister: here because I had six votes, and another man had only five: I want to stand in my ministry by right Divine, by credentials not written by men and that cannot be expunged by men. That is the calling of the whole Church: do not imagine that Episcopalianism, Congregationalism, etc., will save you. We are not saved by name, nor are we an influential Church because we bear an illustrious name. Every day needs its own inspiration, as every day requires its own bread. (J. Parker, D. D.)

The Christian life organic

I. The suicide of Judas created a vacancy in the number of the twelve apostles. Christ does not seem to have spoken concerning this, but leaves it to be filled by the Church. And this is the duty to which Peter summons them. The little handful of believers were waiting for “the promise of the Father.” They were called not to activity, but to stillness and expectancy. But Peter at once organises a council and proceeds to an Episcopal election. And, unquestionably, Peter was right, and the disciples recognised it to be their first duty to fill up the ranks and perfect the organisation, and so enlarge the influence and increase the working power of that Divine agency which Christ had committed to their charge. II. Let us admit freely that organisation is not life, but without organisation there can be no life. In nature we know of life at all, only as it exhibits itself under organised forms, and so St. Paul affirms must the life of Divine truth in the world, be an organised life with a head, and hands and feet—in other words with that which governs and that which communicates and that which obeys. When a farmer in the Salt Lake Valley constructs that ingenious system of sinuous and interlacing the watercourses by which the melting snows of the Wausatch Mountains are conducted to every remotest corner of his vineyards and cornfields, he has not thereby secured the smallest guarantee that the snow will fall, or that it will melt, or that it will obey the law of gravitation and run down hill into his tanks. These things are ordered by God, and his orchards blossom and his corn sprouts, not because he has laid so many feet of drain-pipe, but because God has put into the melted snow or the chance shower some mysterious power of making that arid desert of sand with its silex and potash to burst forth, straightway so soon as the water has touched it, and bud and blossom as a rose. But none the less, as things are, that arid and desert valley would never have burst into flower if the farmer’s simple machinery had not so organised and utilised these forces of nature that the baptism of the one became the new birth and resurrection of the other. III. And this, at any rate, is the lesson of such a parable, as it is of all history. The church of God is in the world, not as a human invention, but as a Divine appointment to be applied by human hands. Its fellowship is not salvation, but it is a means of salvation. Its sacraments are not grace, but they are channels of grace. Its Bible is not a charm or a talisman, but it is a teacher and guide. Its services are not spells, but they are helps and refreshments. I honour with my whole soul that protest against the formalism of the Church, which resents the tendency to make of these things the whole of religion. I honour no less that vehement and robust indignation which denounces the temper that hands over all men who do not belong to your Church or mine or some other of equal historic pretensions, to the uncovenanted mercies of God. But all this does not affect in the smallest degree, the question whether or no Christ has founded a Church, whether or no you and I have sought, and found its fellowship. The Church exists in the world not to enjoy our patronage, to invite our criticism, to gratify our taste, but to accept our discipleship. Her organised life, her ministry, her sacraments, her worship, the proclamation of her Lord’s message—all these things are not less essential to-day, than when in the beginning Peter convened the hundred and twenty disciples to choose Matthias. This Christian organisation is Divine, and as such it speaks its message and holds forth its ministrations. It may be that some of us have come to regard the Church as a kind of social appendage, a rather more dignified marrying and burying and baptising association, which we are to make use of when tradition or custom or decorum constrains us to, and at other times conveniently forget. But the moment that we look into it we find that it asserts of itself nothing less than a Divine origin, and it demands a definite obedience. We may say that that authority is groundless, but until we have proved it, our allegiance is not an option, it is a debt.

IV. And so I plead with parents to train children in ways of reverent familiarity with God’s word, God’s house, and God’s day. Let them understand that something higher than your taste or preference makes these things sacred and binding. And that you may do this the more effectually, give them, I entreat you, that mightiest teaching which consists in your own consistent and devout example. And in your holidays remember that wherever you go, you are a baptised member of the Church, and treachery to your baptismal vow is as disloyal under a foreign flag as it would be under your own. (Bp H. C. Potter, D. D.)

Lessons from the pre-Pentecostal period In this paragraph we have— I. The law of leadership in Christian communities. 1. Society without leadership sinks into confusion. 2. In the long run leadership resolves itself into a question of personal qualification. Sooner or later unqualified men have to resign positions they ought never to have assumed. 3. In a great leader many elements are combined. Others may excel him in detached points, but taken as a whole, he rules not by one dominant faculty, but by a noble proportion of gifts. 4. The position of leader is not so easy as it seems to unreflecting observers. Men see the elevation, not the strain and responsibility. 5. The only sound rule for promotion is wisdom which should be recognised irrespective of age or position. 6. He leads best who knows the art of wise following. The leader is often, as here, but the mouthpiece of the whole community. 7. All human leadership is to be subjected to the Headship of the Divine Redeemer. II. The construction of the Christian ministry. 1. It was required that the successor to the vacant bishopric be a man who had known Christ. Those who now sustain the office of witnesses for Christ must be men whose spiritual intimacy with Him is intense and fully tested. Every minister must have seen Christ and known the power of His resurrection. 2. It is clear from the election of Matthias that there is in the Scriptures a distinct claim to apostolic succession. Who then are in this succession? Those who are animated by the apostolic spirit. It is not question of ecclesiastical descent, but of spiritual illumination and sympathy. 3. The twelfth minister was chosen by the whole Church subject to a distinct expression of the Divine Will. The election was not determined by personal taste, much less by the industrious canvassing of ambitious candidates. The minister was sought by prayer and as a consequence was received with submission and thankfulness. (J. Parker, D. D.) 9. CALVIN," It was meet that Matthias should be chosen into the place of Judas, lest, through the treachery of one man, all that might seem to have been made of none effect which Christ had once appointed. He did not unadvisedly choose the twelve in the beginning, as principal preachers of his gospel. For when he said that they should be judges of twelve tribes of Israel, Luke 6:13, John 6:70; he showeth here that it was done of set purpose, that they might gather together the tribes of Israel unto one faith. But after that the Jews had refused the grace offered unto them, it was behoveful that the

Israel of God should be gathered together out of all countries. This, therefore, was, as it were, a holy number, which, if it should have been diminished through the wickedness of Judas, then should the preaching of the gospel both have had, and also have, less credit at this day, if the beginning thereof had been imperfect. 56 Although, therefore, Judas would (as much as in him lay) have disappointed the purpose of Christ, yet nevertheless it stood firm and stable. He perished as he was worthy, yet did the order of the apostles remain whole and sound. The company of names It is uncertain whether he meaneth the men who only have the name properly, seeing the women are comprehended under the name of the men; or whether he taketh names simply for all the heads, as the Hebrews call them souls. This may also be called in question, whether they were wont daily to frequent that parlor in which the apostles did dwell, or they did continually dwell there with them. For the place was scarce able to contain so great a multitude, to serve them for all necessary uses. Surely it seemeth to me a thing more like to be true, that Luke doth in this place express the number of them, that we may know that they were all gathered together when Peter made this sermon. Whereby we may guess that they were not always present there. Although I dare not affirm any certain thing concerning this matter, yet being moved with a probable conjecture, I do rather lean unto this part, that the church was gathered together them because they had to intreat of a serious matter, and to this end also tendeth this word rising, [standing up.] 10. RAY STEDMAN, "For years I believed that these hundred and twenty believers met in the upper room, and that the Holy Spirit came upon them there. But notice that there is a break here. The previous paragraph does mention the upper room, but that is part of the introduction to the book of Acts. The introduction ends at Verse 14, and, at Verse 15, Dr. Luke starts to tell his story. If you link Verse 15 with the last verse of the Gospel of Luke, you will see clearly where Luke takes up his narrative again. In the Gospel, Luke tells us that the disciples came back from the Mount of Olives after the ascension of Jesus and continued meeting in the courts of the temple. That is where this Pentecostal event occurred. These one hundred and twenty people were much too large a group to meet in an upper room. They are now gathered in the courts of the temple, probably in Solomon's Porch, and it is there this takes place. Now, the concern of Peter is that there be a replacement for Judas in the apostolic band. Judas had fallen from his place as an apostle by his betrayal of the Lord Jesus, and Peter now feels impelled by the Spirit to replace Judas. We have already seen from Paul's letter that the church is like a building, and that building, says the Apostle Paul, is "built upon the foundation of the apostles," (Ephesians 2:20). Therefore, it is not surprising that the first thing we read about in the book of Acts is the completing of the band of the apostles. There must be twelve apostles. In the book of the Revelation, John sees the city of God coming down out of heaven, (a beautiful picture of this magnificent church), portrayed as a city. There is a wall around it, with twelve gates and the names of the gates are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Clearly Israel is linked to this new city. The wall also has twelve foundations and the names of each of the foundations are the names of the apostles of the Lamb. So there must be twelve apostles. There are some who think that the Apostle Paul should be counted among these twelve. But Paul himself never says that. He never links himself with the twelve. Though he was a genuine apostle, yet he was not one of the Twelve.

16and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus—

1. Barnes, “Men and brethren - This is a customary mode of address, implying
affection and respect, Act_13:26. The Syriac renders it more appropriately than by the introduction of the conjunction “and” - “Men, our brethren.” This scripture - This prediction contained in the writings of the Old Testament. Compare the notes on Joh_5:39. The passage to which Peter refers is commonly supposed to be that recorded in Psa_41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend ...hath lifted up his heel against me.” This is expressly applied to Judas by our Saviour, in Joh_13:18. But it seems clear that the reference is not to the 41st Psalm, but to the passage in the 69th Psalm which Peter proceeds to quote in Act_1:20. Must needs have been fulfilled - It would certainly be fulfilled. Not that there was any physical necessity or any compulsion; but it could not but occur that a prediction of God would be fulfilled. This makes no affirmation about the freedom of Judas in doing it. A man will be just as free in wickedness if it be foretold that he will be wicked, as if it had never been known to any other being but himself. The Holy Ghost ... - This is a strong attestation to the inspiration of David, and accords with the uniform testimony of the New Testament, that the sacred writers spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, 2Pe_1:21. Concerning Judas - In what respect this was concerning Judas, see Act_1:20. Which was guide ... - Mat_26:47; Joh_18:3.

2. Clarke, “The Holy Ghost by the mouth of David - Thus is a strong attestation to the Divine inspiration of the book of Psalms. They were dictated by the Holy Spirit, and spoken by the mouth of David.

3. Gill, “Men and brethren,.... Which is said not so much by Peter to express his
modesty, and humility, and his brotherly love; or on account of the spiritual relation that subsisted between him and the persons he speaks to, as it was a common form used in addresses; see Act_7:2 it should seem, that the women, were not reckoned into the

number of the hundred and twenty here addressed; and the Syriac version calls that number, "the number of men", unless they are supposed to be included in them: this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled; or "must needs be fulfilled": referring either to Psa_41:9 or rather to the passages after cited out of Psa_69:25. There was a necessity of the fulfilling of it, consistent with the prescience of God, his counsel, and decree, and the veracity of the Scripture; which necessity does not at all excuse the sin of Judas, who acted freely from the wickedness of his own heart, and not from any force that this laid upon him: and the apostle might observe this also, to make the minds of the disciples easy, under this awful providence, since it was no other than what was predicted: and which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spake before; even many hundreds of years before the event; and which shows the omniscience, and so the deity of the Holy Ghost, and the divine authority of David's Psalms; as well as the honour that was put upon him to be the instrument by which the Holy Ghost speaks, and to be his amanuensis: the particular referred to, is, "concerning" Judas; who is sometimes called Iscariot, to distinguish him from another apostle of the same name; and what is hereafter said sufficiently does that; or concerning that Judas, as the Syriac version renders it: which was a guide to them that took Jesus; to the band of soldiers and officers, who came with swords and staves, as to take a thief, or a robber; before these Judas went and showed them, not only the place where he was, but gave them a sign by which they should know him, and also advice to take him and hold him fast, and lead him away safely; so that he was not only a guide as to the way, but was a director, and conductor, and manager of the whole affair. And it may be observed, that though Peter did not conceal, but declares the sin of Judas; yet not in a rough manner, aggravating it, but with much softness and tenderness; though with no design to lessen it, as appears by what follows, and which may be instructive to us in speaking of other men's sins.

4. RWP, “Brethren (andres adelphoi). Literally, men, brethren or brother men.
More dignified and respectful than just “brethren.” Demosthenes sometimes said Andres

Athēnaioi. Cf. our “gentlemen and fellow-citizens.” Women are included in this address
though andres refers only to men. It was needful (edei). Imperfect tense of the impersonal dei with the infinitive clause (first aorist passive) and the accusative of general reference as a loose subject. Peter here assumes that Jesus is the Messiah and finds scripture illustrative of the treachery of Judas. He applies it to Judas and quotes the two passages in Act_1:20 (Psa_69:25; Psa_ 109:8). The Holy Spirit has not yet come upon them, but Peter feels moved to interpret the situation. He feels that his mind is opened by Jesus (Luk_24:45). It is a logical, not a moral, necessity that Peter points out. Peter here claims the Holy Spirit as speaking in the scriptures as he does in 2Pe_1:21. His description of Judas as “guide” (hodēgou) to those who seized (sullabousin) Jesus is that of the base traitor that he was. This very verb occurs in Luk_22:54 of the arrest of Jesus.

5. SBC, "The Subserviency of Crime to the Purposes of God
We are so accustomed to view the traitor Judas with indignation and denounce him for his crime and treachery, that we are apt to overlook the important ends which, as overruled by God, are eventually subserved. I. As an attestation of the miracles of Christ, we think the treachery of Judas overruled for the lasting benefit of the Church. The traitor shall witness to the Master he betrayed. For had there been anything of luck or deception in the miracles of Jesus, Judas, we may be sure, would have known it and told it. This would have been a fine piece of intelligence to have sold to the chief priests, and by communicating it, he would at once have enriched himself and destroyed Christianity. Nay, he would have done a righteous deed; and while gratifying his avarice, he would have laid up no food for remorse. If suspicion may rest on the witness of those faithful ones who had bound themselves to Christ, and who died rather than deny Him, none can rest on that of the renegade whose only object was to gain money by arresting the religion. The silence of the traitor should convince us, if unconvinced by the glorious company of martyrs. II. The Christian religion might have been assailed, with at least equal power, through the moral character of its Founder. If the chief priests and scribes could have charged Christ with any sinful practice, and could have made good the charge, their end would have been as effectually answered as if they could have shown Him an impostor and a deceiver. Has Judas no information to give? no, he can betray the person, he cannot impeach the purity of his Lord. It is the innocence of the Sufferer which fills him with excruciating remorse, and so drives him to despair that he takes refuge in suicide. We say of all this, that it is the most perfect and convincing testimony to the spotless character of our Saviour. III. There is no such extraordinary instance in Scripture as is furnished by the history under review of the utter incapacity of man to hinder the purposes of God. The treachery of Judas was overruled by God, rendering invulnerable, as at first, the testimony to Christ, both from miracle and prophecy. Judas Iscariot vindicates the Master he betrayed, and sustains the cause from which he apostatised. H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1862. References: Act_1:17, Act_1:18.—Parker, City Temple, vol. iii., p. 433. Act_1:21.— Homiletic Quarterly, vol. xi., p. 328.

6. Calvin, “It was meet that the Scripture should be fulfilled. Because Peter doth speak in this their assembly, therefore the Papists will have him to be the head of the church. 57 As though no man might speak in any assembly of the godly but he should straightway be Pope. We do grant, that as in every assembly there must be some which must be chief, so in this assembly the apostles did ascribe this honor unto Peter. But what maketh this unto (the proving of) their Papacy? Wherefore, bidding them adieu, 58 let us consider what the Spirit doth speak by the month of Peter. He saith That the Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, lest any man’s mind should be troubled with that horrible fall of Judas. For it seemed a strange thing that he which was chosen by Christ unto so excellent a function, should so filthily fall in the beginning of his course. Peter removeth this stone of stumbling, when he saith that it was foretold by the Scripture. Whence we may gather an admonition very necessary for daily practice; namely, that we ought to attribute

this honor unto the prophecies of the Scriptures, that they are able to appease all such fear as we conceive of the sudden event of things. For there is nothing which doth more trouble us than when we stay still in our own sense and understanding, and procure unto ourselves lets and doubts, 59 which the Lord would be ready to cure, if so be that we would hold fast this one thing, that nothing is absurd which he hath foreseen, appointed, and foretold, that he might make us more strong. Neither was Judas therefore excusable, because that which befell him was foretold, seeing that he fell away, not being compelled by the prophecy, but only by the malice of his own heart. The oration of Peter hath two parts. For, in the first place, he putteth away the offense which godly minds might have conceived by reason of the fall of Judas; whence also he gathereth an exhortation that the rest may learn to fear God. Secondly, he telleth them that it remaineth that they choose another into his place, both which he proveth by testimony of Scripture. Which the Holy Ghost foretold Such manner of speeches bring greater reverence to the Scriptures, whilst we are taught by them that David and all the rest of the prophets did speak only as they were directed by the Holy Ghost; so that they themselves were not the authors of their prophecies, but the Spirit which used their tongues as an instrument. Wherefore, seeing that our dullness is so great, that we ascribe less authority unto the Scriptures than we ought, we must diligently note such manner of speeches, and acquaint ourselves with them, that we may oftentimes remember the authority of God to confirm our faith withal.

17he was one of our number and shared in this ministry."

1. Barnes, “He was numbered with us - He was chosen as an apostle by the Lord
Jesus, Luk_6:13-16. This does not mean that he was a true Christian, but that he was reckoned among the apostles. Long before he betrayed him, Jesus declared that he was a devil, Joh_6:70. He knew his whole character when he chose him, Joh_2:25. If it be asked why he chose such a man to be an apostle; why he was made the treasurer of the apostles, and was admitted to the fullest confidence; we may reply, that a most important object was gained in having such a man - a spy - among them. It might be pretended, when the apostles bore testimony to the purity of life, of doctrine, and of purpose of the Lord Jesus, that they were interested and partial friends; that they might

be disposed to suppress some of his real sentiments, and represent him in a light more favorable than the truth. Hence, the testimony of such a man as Judas, if favorable, must be invaluable. It would be free from the charge of partiality. If Judas knew anything unfavorable to the character of Jesus, he would have communicated it to the Sanhedrin. If he knew of any secret plot against the government, or seditious purpose, he had every inducement to declare it. He had every opportunity to know it; he was with him; heard him converse; was a member of his family, and admitted to terms of familiarity. Yet even Judas could not be bought or bribed, to testify against the moral character of the Saviour. If he had done it, or could have done it, it would have preserved him from the charge of treason; would have entitled him to the reputation of a public benefactor in discovering secret sedition; and would have saved him from the pangs of remorse, and from self-murder. Judas would have done it if he could. But he alleged no such charge; he did not even dare to lisp a word against the pure designs of the Lord Jesus; and his own reproofs of conscience Mat_27:4, and his voluntary death Mat_27:5, furnish the highest proof that can be desired of his conviction that the betrayed Redeemer was innocent. Judas would have been just the witness which the Jews desired of the treasonable purposes of Jesus. But that could not be procured, even by gold; and they wore compelled to suborn other men to testify against the Son of God, Mat_26:60. We may add here, that the introduction of such a character as that of Judas Iscariot into the number of the apostles, and the use to be made of his testimony, would never have occurred to the author of a forged book. He would have said that they were all the true friends of the Lord Jesus. To have invented such a character as that of Judas, and to make him perform such a part in the plan as the sacred writers do, would have required too much art and cunning - was too refined and subtle a device, to have been thought of unless it had actually occurred.

2. Clarke, “Obtained part of this ministry - Ελαχε τον κληρον, He obtained the lot
of this ministry - not that he or any of the twelve apostles, was chosen to this ministry by lot, but as lot signifies the portion a man has in life, what comes to him in the course of the Divine providence, or as an especial gift of God’s goodness, it is used here, as in many other parts of the sacred writings, to signify office or station. On this subject the reader is referred to the notes on Lev_16:8, Lev_16:9 (note); Jos_14:2 (note): see also Act_1:26 (note).

3. Gill, “For he was numbered with us,.... He was chosen an apostle with: the rest,
and was ordained into that office when they were, and was always reckoned one of the twelve, and stands in the catalogue when they are mentioned: and had obtained part of this ministry; by lot, as the word signifies; the providence of God so ordering it, according to his eternal purpose and decree, that he was not only called an apostle, and enrolled among them, but he really had a part in that ministry; he preached, and baptized, and wrought miracles; and besides all this, carried the bag, was the treasurer, and a sort of a steward in Christ's family, and provided for it.

4. Henry, “The power to which Judas had been advanced (Act_1:17): He was

numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry which we are invested with. Note, Many are numbered with the saints in this world that will not be found among them in the day of separation between the precious and the vile. What will it avail us to be added to the number of Christians, if we partake not of the spirit and nature of Christians? Judas's having obtained part of this ministry was but an aggravation of his sin and ruin, as it will be of theirs who prophesied in Christ's name, and yet were workers of iniquity. (2.) The sin of Judas, notwithstanding his advancement to this honour. He was guide to those that took Jesus, not only informed Christ's persecutors where they might find him (which they might have done effectually though he had kept out of sight), but he had the impudence to appear openly at the head of the party that seized him. He went before them to the place, and, as if he had been proud of the honour, gave the word of command: That same is he, hold him fast. Note, Ringleaders in sin are the worst of sinners, especially if those that by their office should have been guides to the friends of Christ are guides to his enemies.

5. RWP, “Was numbered (katērithmenos ēn). Periphrastic past perfect passive
indicative of katarithmeō, old verb, but here only in the N.T. (perfective use of kata). Received his portion (elachen ton klēron). Second aorist active indicative of lagchanō, old verb, to obtain by lot as in Luk_1:9; Joh_19:24, especially by divine appointment as here and 2Pe_2:1. Klēros also means lot, an object used in casting lots (Act_1:26), or what is obtained by lot as here and Act_8:21, of eternal salvation (Act_26:18; Col_1:12), of persons chosen by divine appointment (1Pe_5:3). From this latter usage the Latin cleros, clericus, our clergy, one chosen by divine lot. So Peter says that Judas “obtained by lot the lot of this ministry” (diakonias) which he had when he betrayed Jesus. The Master chose him and gave him his opportunity.

6. Calvin, “Adopted. It is word for word reckoned. And he saith that he was one of the number, that he might signify unto them that it was needful that the empty place should be filled, to the end that the number might continue whole. And to this propose serveth that which followeth, that he had obtained a part in the ministry. For thereupon it doth follow that the body should be, as it were, lame, if that part should be wanting. Surely it was a thing which might make them greatly amazed, that he whom Christ had extolled unto so high dignity should fall headlong into such destruction. Which circumstance doth increase the cruelty of the fact, 60 and teacheth the rest to take heed unto themselves. 61 Neither is it to be doubted but that the disciples did remember Judas with great grief and sorrow. But Peter doth here express by name the excellency of his function, that he might make them more attentive and more careful to provide a remedy.

18(With the reward he got for his wickedness,

Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.

1. Barnes, “Now this man ... - The money which was given for betraying the Lord Jesus was thrown down in the temple, and the field was purchased with it by the Jewish priests. See Mat_27:5, Mat_27:10, and the notes on that place. A man is said often to do a thing when he furnishes means for doing it. Compare Mat_27:60, “And laid it (the body of Jesus) in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock.” That is, had caused to be hewn out. Joh_4:1, “when, therefore, the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus “made and baptized” more disciples than John.” Through his disciples, for Jesus himself baptized not, Joh_4:2. The same principle is recognized in law in the well-known maxim, “Qui facit per alium, facit per se.” The reward of iniquity - The price which he had for that deed of stupendous wickedness - the betraying of the Lord Jesus. And falling headlong - The word here rendered “headlong” - πρηνής prēnēs (Latin “pronus,” whence our English word “prone”) - means properly “bent forward, headforemost”; and the idea is, that his position in hanging himself was such that when the cord broke he fell headlong, or fell forward on his face. This can easily be supposed if he threw himself from a rock or elevated place. He first hanged himself, and then fell and was burst asunder. See the notes on Mat_27:5. 2. Clarke, “Purchased a field with the reward of iniquity - Probably Judas did not purchase the field himself, but the money for which he sold his Lord was thus applied, see Mat_27:6-8. It is possible, however, that he might have designed to purchase a field or piece of ground with this reward of his iniquity, and might have been in treaty far it, though he did not close the bargain, as his bringing the money to the treasury proves: the priests, knowing his intentions, might have completed the purchase, and, as Judas was now dead, applied the field thus bought for the burial of strangers, i.e. Jews from foreign parts, or others who, visiting Jerusalem, had died there. Though this case is possible, yet the passage will bear a very consistent interpretation without the assistant of this conjecture; for, in ordinary conversation, we often attribute to a man what is the consequence of his own actions, though such consequence was never designed nor wished for by himself: thus we say of a man embarking in a hazardous enterprise, he is gone to seek his death; of one whose conduct has been ruinous to his reputation, he has disgraced himself; of another who has suffered much in consequence of his crimes, he has purchased repentance at a high price, etc., etc. All these, though undesigned, were consequences of certain acts, as the buying of the yield was the consequence of Judas’s treason. And falling headlong, he burst asunder - It is very likely that the 18th and 19th verses are not the words of Peter, but of the historian, St. Luke, and should be read in a parenthesis, and then the 17th and 20th verses will make a connected sense. On the case of Judas, and the manner of his death, see the observations at the end of this chapter.

3. Gill, “Now this man purchased a field,.... This verse, with the following, seem to be the words of Luke the historian, which should be read in a parenthesis; for there was no need to have acquainted the disciples with the manner of Judas's death, which was so well known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; nor would Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of it, be mentioned with that propriety by Peter, when he, and those he spoke of, were upon the spot; nor could there be any necessity of his explaining a word in their own tongue, which they understood, and that in a language unknown unto them; nor does it seem likely, that in so short a time as five or six weeks, the field should have obtained the name of "Aceldama", and be commonly known by it. The Ethiopic version calls this field, "a vineyard"; and so it might be, and yet the potter's field too. It is somewhat difficult, that Judas should be said to purchase it, when Matthew says the chief priests bought it, Mat_27:7. Both are true; Judas having received his money of the chief priests two days ago, might not only intend to purchase, but might really strike a bargain with the potter for his field; but repenting of his sin, instead of carrying the money to make good the agreement, went and threw it to the chief priests, and then hanged himself; when they, by a secret providence, might be directed to make a purchase of the same field with his money; or he may be said to purchase it, because it was purchased with his money. The Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions render it, "he possessed" it; not in person, unless he was buried there, as he might be; and so all that he got by his wretched bargain, was only so much ground as to be buried in; or the sense may be, "he caused it to be possessed"; by returning the money which the chief priests used this way,
with the reward of his iniquity; that is, with the thirty pieces of silver, given him as a reward for that vile action of his betraying of his Lord and master: so the reward of divination, or what Balsam got by soothsaying, which was an iniquitous and wicked practice, is called, "the wages of unrighteousness", 2Pe_2:15. and falling headlong he burst in the midst; either falling from the gallows, or tree on which he hanged himself, the rope breaking, upon a stone, or stump, his belly was broke, and burst; or falling from the air, whither he was violently snatched up by Satan, who was in him, and by whom he was thrown down to the earth, and who went out of him by a rupture made in his belly; or being in deep melancholy, he was strangled with the squinancy, and fell down on his face to the ground, as the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions render it, and burst asunder: and all his bowels gushed out; through the rupture that was made. So we read of a man that fell from the roof of a house, ‫פקעיה כרסיה ונפיק מעייניה‬, "and his belly burst, and his bowels came out" (l). And this was the miserable end of Judas. The death of Arius, as related by Athanasius (m), from Macarius the presbyter, who was present, was much after the same manner; who reports, that having swore to the orthodox faith, and being about to be introduced into the church at Constantinople, after the prayer of Alexander, the bishop of it, he went out to the seat, to ease nature; when he, on a sudden, fell down headlong, and burst in the middle, and immediately expired: and Epiphanius (n) compares his exit with this of Judas,

who observes, that he went out in the night to the vault, as before related, and burst asunder, as Judas of old did; and came to his end in a filthy and unclean place. Ruffinus says (o), that as he sat, his entrails, and all his bowels, came from him into the vault; and so he died in such a place, a death worthy of his blasphemous and corrupt mind. As to the seeming difference between the Evangelist Matthew and the Apostle Peter, it may be reconciled by either of the ways before mentioned; see Gill on Mat_27:5 though it seems most likely, that Judas not being able to bear the torments of his mind, he hanged himself, as Achitophel did, and was not strangled by the devil, or by any disease; and that he fell down from the tree on which he hung, either the rope breaking, or the tree falling; and so the things happened to him which are recorded: or he might fall from hence, either through a violent strong wind which blew him down; or through the rushing of wild beasts against the gallows, on which he hung; or by the devil himself, who might throw him down from hence after he had dispatched himself, as some have conjectured: or, which seems best of all, he might be cast down from hence by men, either of themselves, or by the order of the civil magistrates, not enduring such a sight, that one that had destroyed himself should hang long there; and which, according to the law, was not to be admitted; and these not taking him down, in a gentle manner, but using some violence, or cutting the rope, the body fell, and burst asunder, as is here said: and it should be observed, that the Evangelist Matthew speaks of the death of Judas, in which he himself was concerned; and the Apostle Peter reports what befell his carcass after his death, and in which others were concerned. The Vulgate Latin renders it, and being hanged, he burst in the middle; as if this happened to him upon the gallows, without falling,

4. Henry, “The ruin of Judas by this sin. Perceiving the chief priests to seek the life of Christ and his disciples, he thought to save his by going over to them, and not only so, but to get an estate under them, of which his wages for his service, he hoped, would be but an earnest; but see what came of it. [1.] He lost his money shamefully enough (Act_ 1:18): He purchased a field with the thirty pieces of silver, which were the reward of his iniquity. He did not purchase the field, but the wages of his unrighteousness did, and it is very elegantly expressed thus, in derision of his projects to enrich himself by this bargain. He thought to have purchased a field for himself, as Gehazi did with what he got from Naaman by a lie (see 2Ki_5:26), but it proved the purchase of a field to bury strangers in; and what was he or any of his the better for this? It was to him an unrighteous mammon, it deceived him; and the reward of his iniquity was the stumbling-block of his iniquity. [2.] He lost his life m ore shamefully. We were told (Mat_27:5) that he went away in despair, and was suffocated (so the word signifies there, and no more); here it is added (as latter historians add to those who went before) that, being strangled, or choked with grief and horror, he fell headlong, fell on his face (so Dr. Hammond), and partly with the swelling of his own breast, and partly with the violence of the fall, he burst asunder in the midst, so that all his bowels tumbled out. If, when the devil was cast out of a child, he tore him, threw him down, and rent him, and

almost killed him (as we find Mar_9:26; Luk_9:42), no wonder if, when he had full possession of Judas, he threw him headlong, and burst him. The suffocation of him, which Matthew relates, would make him swell till he burst, which Peter relates. he burst asunder with a great noise (so Dr. Edwards), which was heard by the neighbours, and so, as it follows, it came to be known (Act_1:19): His bowels gushed out; Luke writes like a physician, understanding all the entrails of the middle and lower ventricle. Bowelling is part of the punishment of traitors. Justly do those bowels gush out that were shut up against the Lord Jesus. And perhaps Christ had an eye to the fate of Judas, when he said of the wicked servant that he would cut him in sunder, Mat_24:51.

5. RWP, “Now this man (Houtos men oun). Note men oun again without a
corresponding de as in Act_1:6. Act_1:18, Act_1:19 are a long parenthesis of Luke by way of explanation of the fate of Judas. In Act_1:20 Peter resumes and quotes the scripture to which he referred in Act_1:16. Obtained (ektēsato). First aorist middle indicative of ktaomai, to acquire, only in the middle, to get for oneself. With the covenant money for the betrayal, acquired it indirectly apparently according to Mat_26:14-16; Mat_27:3-8 which see. Falling headlong (prēnēs genomenos). Attic form usually pranēs. The word means, not “headlong,” but “flat on the face” as opposed to huptios on the back (Hackett). Hackett observes that the place suits admirably the idea that Judas hung himself (Mat_27:5) and, the rope breaking, fell flat on his face and burst asunder in the midst (elakēsen

mesos). First aorist active indicative of laskō old verb (here only in the N.T.), to clang, to
crack, to crash, like a falling tree. Aristophanes uses it of crashing bones. Mesos is predicate nominative referring to Judas. Gushed out (exechuthē). First aorist passive indicative of ekcheō, to pour out.

6. VWS, “Purchased (ᅚκτήσατο ᅚκτήσατο)
See on possess, Luk_18:12. Better, as Rev., obtained. Judas did not purchase the field, but the priests did with the money which he returned to them, (Mat_27:7). The expression means merely that the field was purchased with the money of Judas. Falling headlong (πρηνής πρηνής γενόµενος γενόµενος) Lit., having become headlong. He burst asunder (ᅚλάκησε ᅚλάκησε) Only here in New Testament. Lit., to crack, to burst with a noise. So Homer, of the bones cracking beneath a blow (“Iliad,” xiii., 616). Compare Aristophanes, “Clouds,” 410.

7. Calvin, “And he truly It seemeth unto me a thing like to be true, that this narration of the death of Judas was put in by Luke; therefore, it seemeth good to

me to include it within a parenthesis, that it may be separated from Peter’s sermon. For to what end should Peter here reckon up unto the disciples those things which they already knew well enough? Secondly, it should have been an absurd thing to have spoken after this among them, that the field which was bought with the money that was given to betray Christ was called of the Hebrews, in their own mother tongue, Aceldama. But whereas some do answer, that Peter spoke this unto the Galileans, whose speech did disagree with the Jewish tongue, it is but vain and frivolous. In very deed they did somewhat disagree in pronunciation; yet not so much but that they did well understand one another; like as do these of Paris and the men of Rouen. Furthermore, how could this be a fit word for Jerusalem, where Peter made his sermon? To what end should he interpret in Greek among the Hebrews their own mother tongue? Therefore doth Luke of himself put in this sentence concerning the death of Judas, lest Peter’s words might seem strange 62 through ignorance of that history. He possessed a field This word hath a double signification, which, in my opinion, doth rather signify in this place to possess than to get; yet because it skilleth little whether way we read it, I leave it indifferent. And he speaketh after this sort, not because Judas had the use of the field, or that he himself did buy it, seeing it was bought after his death. But Luke’s meaning was, that his burial was the perpetual note of ignominy; was the reward which he had for his falsehood and wicked act. Neither did he so much sell Christ for thirty pieces as his apostleship. He enjoyed not the money; 63 he only possessed the field. Furthermore, it came to pass through the marvelous providence of God, that the very common name of the field should be a note of infamy for the priests, which had bought (the) innocent blood of [from] the traitor. He saith that the Hebrews did call it by that name in their tongue, because he himself was a Grecian born; and he calleth that the Hebrew tongue which the Jews did use after the captivity of Babylon, namely, such as was mixed of the Assyrian tongue and of the Chaldean tongue. It is written in the book of Psalms He taketh away, by authority of Scriptures, all offense which might have happened by reason of the falling away of Judas. Yet might this place seem to be greatly wrested: First, in that David did not wish that these things might befall any particular person, but (in the plural number) he wisheth them unto his enemies. Secondly, it seemeth that Peter doth apply these things amiss unto Judas, which were spoken of the enemies of David. I answer, that David doth there speak after this [afterwards] of himself, that he may describe the condition and state of Christ’s kingdom. In that Psalm (I say) is contained the common image of the whole Church, which is the body of the Son of God. Therefore, the things which are there set down must needs have been fulfilled in the head, which are indeed fulfilled, as the evangelists do testify, know, if any man object that those things which there were spoken against the enemies of David do not fitly agree unto Judas, we may easily gather that they do so much the rather agree with him, because David doth not respect himself as being separated from the body of the Church; but rather as he was one of the members of Christ, and so taking upon him his image, he steppeth forth in his name. Whosoever shall mark that this singular person was attributed to David, that he

should be a figure of Christ, will not marvel if all these things be applied unto him which were prefigured in David. Although, therefore, he doth comprehend the whole Church, yet he beginneth at the head thereof, and doth especially describe what things Christ should suffer by the hands of the wicked. For we learn out of Paul’s doctrine, that whatsoever afflictions the godly suffer, they are part of the afflictions of Christ, and serve to the fulfilling of the same, (Colossians 1:14.) This order and connection did David observe, or rather the Spirit of God, who meant by the mouth of David to instruct the whole Church. But as touching the persecutors of Christ, all that which is commonly spoken of them is by good right referred unto their standard-bearer; whose impiety and wickedness, as it is most famous, so his punishment ought to be made known unto all men. If any man do object again, that that which is recited in the Psalm is only certain cursings, and not prophecies; and that, therefore, Peter doth gather improperly that it was of necessity that it should be fulfilled, it is soon answered. For David was not moved with any perverse or corrupt affection of the flesh to crave vengeance; but he had the Holy Spirit to be his guide and director. Therefore, what things soever he prayed for there, being inspired with the Holy Ghost, they have the same strength which prophecies have, because the Spirit doth require no other thing than that which God hath determined with himself to perform, and will also promise unto us. But whereas Peter doth cite out of the Scriptures two diverse testimonies; by the first is meant, that Judas, together with his name and family, should quite be extinguished, that his place might be empty; the other, which he fetcheth out of the 109th Psalm, tendeth to this end, that there should be another chosen to supply his place. These seem at first to be contrary; namely, a waste habitation and succession. Yet, because the Spirit saith only, in the former place, that the adversaries of the Church should be taken away, that their place might be empty, and without one to dwell therein, in respect of themselves, this is no let why another may not afterward supply their empty place. Yea, this doth also augment their punishment, in that the honor, after it was taken from him that was unworthy thereof, is given to another. And his bishopric The Hebrew word could not be translated more fitly. For ‫פכודה‬ (pecudah) doth signify a jurisdiction or government, so called of the overseeing and beholding of things. For as for those which interpret it wife, the text 64 refuteth them; for it followeth in the next verse, of his wife, that she may be made a widow. Therefore, after that he had wished that the wicked may be deprived of his life, he addeth, moreover, that he may be spoiled of his honor; neither doth he stay here, but also he desireth that another may succeed him, whereby, as I have said before, his punishment is doubled. In the meanwhile, he noteth by the way, 65 that this false, treacherous, and wicked person, whereof he speaketh, should not be some one of the common sort, but such an one as should be indued with honor and dignity; from which, nevertheless, he shall fall. And out of this place must we learn, that the wicked shall not escape scott free, which have

persecuted the Church of God; for this miserable and wretched end is prepared for them all.

19Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

1. Barnes, “It was known ... - , Mat_27:8. The scene in the temple; the acts of the priests in purchasing the field, etc., would make it known; and the name of the field would preserve the memory of the guilt of Judas. Their proper tongue - The language spoken by the Jews the Syro-Chaldaic. Aceldama - This is composed of two Syro-Chaldaic words, and means literally, the field of blood.

2. Clarke, “It was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem - The repentance
of Judas, his dying testimony in behalf of our Lord’s innocence, and his tragical death, were publicly known, as was also the transaction about the purchase of the field, and hence arose the name by which at was publicly known. These circumstances must have lessened the credit of the chief priests, and have prepared the public mind to receive the Gospel of the kingdom, when preached to them after the day of pentecost. That field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama - This proper tongue was not the Hebrew; that had long ceased to be the proper tongue in Palestine: it was a sort of Chaldaio-Syriac which was commonly spoken. The word in the Syriac version is chacal-demo, and literally signifies the field of blood; because it was bought by the price of the life or blood of the Lord Jesus.

3. Gill, “And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem,.... As that he
betrayed Jesus of Nazareth into the hands of the chief priests, for thirty pieces of silver; that this was the reward of his iniquity; and that with this a field was purchased for the burying of strangers in; and that he died in such a miserable way: there was scarce an inhabitant in Jerusalem but knew all this, insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue; or "in their own dialect", the "Jerusalem dialect", Which was now Chaldee, or Syriac; and such is the word that follows, "Aceldama; that is to say, the field of blood": because it was bought with the

price of Christ's blood: and if, as some say, Judas hanged him self here, or was thrown headlong here by Satan, and that this was the place where his bowels gushed out; then it may be likewise so called, because it was sprinkled with his blood. It is called in the Alexandrian copy "Acheldamach"; and often by Jerom (p) "Acheldemach", but very wrongly; for not "Demach", but "Dema", in the Syriac and Chaldee dialect, signifies "blood"; which Peter calls the dialect of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, being now spoken by them, in distinction from the Galilean dialect used by him; which, it is plain, was different from the Jerusalem dialect by what is said, Mar_14:70. This field, as it is reported by some, was by the appointment of the Empress Helena compassed about with four walls, in the manner of a tower, upon the top of which are seven distinct doors, like windows, by which the dead bodies of Christians are let down into it; and that it is fifty feet wide, and seventy two long: it stands not far from the valley of Himom, and is upon the south side of Mount Zion, where, as Jerom says (q), it was showed in his time. Masius (r) affirms, there was a very high mountain near Jerusalem, called Mount Aceldema, from the adjacent field, which was bought with the price of Christ's blood, to bury strangers in,

4. Henry, “The public notice that was taken of this: It was known to all the dwellers in Jerusalem. It was, as it were, put into the newspapers, and was all the talk of the town, as a remarkable judgment of God upon him that betrayed his Master, Act_1:19. It was not only discoursed of among the disciples, but it was in every body's mouth, and nobody disputed the truth of the fact. It was known, that is, it was known to be true, incontestably so. Now one would think this should have awakened those to repentance that had had any hand in the death of Christ when they saw him that had the first hand thus made an example. But their hearts were hardened, and, as to those of them that were to be softened, it must be done by the word, and the Spirit working with it. Here is one proof of the notoriety of the thing mentioned, that the field which was purchased with Judas's money was called Aceldama - the field of blood, because it was bought with the price of blood, which perpetuated the infamy not only of him that sold that innocent precious blood, but of those that bought it too. Look how they will answer it, when God shall make inquisition for blood. (5.) The fulfilling of the scriptures in this, which had spoken so plainly of it, that it must needs be fulfilled, Act_1:16. Let none be surprised nor stumble at it, that this should be the exit of one of the twelve, for David had not only foretold his sin (which Christ had taken notice of, Joh_13:18, from Psa_41:9, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up the heel against me), but had also foretold, [1.] His punishment (Psa_69:25): Let his habitation be desolate. This Psalm refers to the Messiah. Mention is made but two or three verses before of their giving him gall and vinegar, and therefore the following predictions of the destruction of David's enemies must be applied to the enemies of Christ, and particularly to Judas. Perhaps he had some habitation of his own at Jerusalem, which, upon this, every body was afraid to live in, and so it became desolate. This prediction signifies the same with that of Bildad concerning the wicked man, that his confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and shall bring him to the king of terrors: it shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his; brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation, Job_18:14, Job_18:15. [2.] The substitution of another in his room. His bishopric, or his office (for so the word signifies in general) shall another take, which is quoted from Psa_109:8. With this quotation Peter very aptly introduces the following proposal. Note, We are not to think the worse of any office that God has instituted (whether magistracy or ministry) either for the wickedness of any that are in that office or for the ignominious punishment of that wickedness; nor will God suffer

any purpose of his to be frustrated, any commission of his to be vacated, or any work of his to be undone, for the miscarriages of those that are entrusted therewith. The unbelief of man shall not make the promise of God of no effect. Judas is hanged, but his bishopric is not lost. It is said of his habitation, that no man shall dwell therein, there he shall have no heir; but it is not said so of his bishopric, there he shall not want a successor. It is with the officers of the church as with the members of it, if the natural branches be broken off, others shall be grafted in, Rom_11:17. Christ's cause shall never be lost for want of witnesses.

5. RWP, “Language (dialektōi). Not a dialect of the Greek, but a different language,
the Aramaic. So also in Act_2:6; Act_21:40. Dialektos is from dialegomai, to converse, to speak between two (dia). Akeldama (Hakeldamach). This Aramaic word Peter explains as “the field of blood.” Two traditions are preserved: one in Mat_27:7 which explains that the priests purchased this potter’s field with the money which Judas flung down as the price of the blood of Jesus. The other in Acts describes it as the field of blood because Judas poured out his blood there. Hackett and Knowling argue that both views can be true. “The ill-omened name could be used with a double emphasis” (Hackett).

20"For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, " 'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,'[d ] and, " 'May another take his place of leadership.'[e ]

1. Barnes, “For it is written ... - See Psa_69:25. This is the prediction doubtless to
which Peter refers in Act_1:16. The intermediate passage in Act_1:18-19, is probably a parenthesis; the words of Luke, not of Peter. So Calvin, Kuinoel, Olshausen, DeWette, and Hackett understand it. It is not probable that Peter would introduce a narrative like this, with which they were all familiar, in an address to the disciples. The Hebrew in the Psalm is, “Let their habitation (Hebrew: fold, enclosure for cattle; tower, or palace) be desolate, and let none dwell in their tents.” This quotation is not made literally from the Hebrew, nor from the Septuagint. The plural is changed to the singular, and there are

some other slight variations. The Hebrew is, “Let there be no one dwelling in their tents.” The reference to the tents is omitted in the quotation. The term “habitation,” in the Psalm, means evidently the dwelling-place of the enemies of the writer of the Psalm. It is an image expressive of their overthrow and defeat by a just God: “Let their families be scattered, and the places where they have dwelt be without an inhabitant, as a reward for their crimes.” If the Psalm was originally composed with reference to the Messiah and his sufferings, the expression here was not intended to denote Judas in particular, but one of his foes who was to meet the just punishment of rejecting, betraying, and murdering him. The change, therefore, which Peter made from the plural to the singular, and the application to Judas especially “as one of those enemies,” accords with the design of the Psalm, and is such a change as the circumstances of the case justified and required. It is an image, therefore, expressive of judgment and desolation coming upon his betrayer - an image to be literally fulfilled in relation to his habitation, drawn from the desolation when a man is driven from his home, and when his dwelling-place becomes tenantless. It is not a little remarkable that this Psalm is repeatedly quoted as referring to the Messiah: Psa_ 69:9, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up,” expressly applied to Christ in Joh_ 2:17, Joh_2:21, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” - the thing which was done to Jesus on the cross, Mat_27:34. The whole Psalm is expressive of deep sorrow of persecution, contempt, weeping, being forsaken, and is throughout applicable to the Messiah; with what is remarkable, not a single expression necessarily limited to David. It is not easy to ascertain whether the ancient Jews referred this Psalm to the Messiah. A part of the title to the Psalm in the Syriac version is, “It is called a prophecy concerning those things which Christ suffered, and concerning the casting away of the Jews.” The prophecy in Act_1:25 is not to be understood of Judas alone, but of the enemies of the Messiah in general, of which Judas was one. On this principle the application to Judas of the passage by Peter is to be defended. And his bishopric let another take - This is quoted from Psa_109:8, “Let his days be few, and let another take his office.” This is called “a Psalm of David,” and is of the same class as Psa_6:1-10; Ps. 22; Ps. 25; Ps. 38; Psa_42:1-11; This class of Psalms is commonly supposed to have expressed David’s feelings in the calamitous times of the persecution by Saul, the rebellion of Absalom, etc. They are all also expressive of the condition of a suffering and persecuted Messiah, and many of them are applied to him in the New Testament. The general principle on which most of them are applicable is, not that David personated or typified the Messiah which is nowhere affirmed, and which can be true in no intelligible sense - but that he was placed in circumstances similar to the Messiah; was encompassed with like enemies; was persecuted in the same manner. They are expressive of high rank, office, dignity, and piety, cast down, waylaid, and encompassed with enemies. In this way they express “general sentiments” as really applicable to the case of the Messiah as to David. They were placed in similar circumstances. The same help was needed. The same expressions would convey their feelings. The same treatment was proper for their enemies. On this principle it was that David deemed his enemy, whoever he was, unworthy of his office, and desired that it should be given to another. In like manner, Judas had rendered himself unworthy of his office, and there was the same propriety that it should be given to another. And as the office had now become vacant by the death of Judas, and according to one declaration in the Psalms, so, according to another, it was proper that it should be conferred on some other person. The word rendered “office” in the Psalm means the care, charge, business, oversight of anything. It is a word applicable to magistrates, whose care it is to see that the laws are executed; and

to military men who have charge of an army, or a part of an army. In Job_10:12 it is rendered “thy visitation.” In Num_4:16, “and to the office of Eleazar,” etc. In the case of David it refers to those who were entrusted with military or other offices who had treacherously perverted them to persecute and oppose him, and who had thus shown themselves unworthy of the office. The Greek word which is used here, ᅚπισκοπᆱν episkopēn, is taken from the Septuagint, and means the same thing as the Hebrew. It is well rendered in the margin “office, or charge.” It means charge or office in general, without in itself specifying of what kind. It is the concrete of the noun ᅚπισκόπους episkopous, commonly translated “bishop,” and means his office, charge, or duty. That word means simply having the oversight of anything, and as applied to the officers of the New Testament, it denotes merely “their having charge of the affairs of the church,” without specifying the nature or the extent of their jurisdiction. Hence, it is often interchanged with presbyter or elder, and denotes the discharge of the duties of the same office: Act_20:28, “Take heed (presbyters or elders, Act_20:17) to yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers” ᅚπισκόπους episkopous - bishops; Heb_12:15, “Looking diligently,” etc. - ᅚπισκοποሞντες episkopountes; Phi_1:1, “with the bishops and deacons”; “Paul called presbyters bishops, for they had at that time the same name” (Theodoret, as quoted by Sehleusner); 1Pe_5:2, “Feed the flock of God (that is, you who are elders, or presbyters, 1Pe_5:1), taking the oversight thereof” - ᅚπισκοποሞντες episkopountes. These passages show that the term in the New Testament designates the supervision or care which was exercised over the church, by whomsoever performed, without specifying the nature or extent of the jurisdiction. It is scarcely necessary to add that Peter here did not intend to affirm that Judas sustained any office corresponding to what is now commonly understood by the term “bishop.”

2. Clarke, “For it is written in the book of Psalms - The places usually referred to are Psa_69:25 : Let their habitation be desolate, and let none dwell in their tents. And Psa_109:8 : Let his days be few, and let another take his office, ‫ פקדתו‬pekudato, his overseership, his charge of visitation or superintendence, translated by the Septuagint, την επισκοπην, Vulgate, episcopatum; and We, following both, bishopric, but not with sufficient propriety, for surely the office or charge of Judas was widely different from what we call bishopric, the diocess, estate, and emoluments of a bishop. Επισκοπος,
episcopos, which was corrupted by our Saxon ancestors into biscop, and by us into bishop, signifies literally an overseer or superintendent, from επι, over, and σκεπτοµαι, I see, a person who had the inspection, overseeing, or superintendence of others. The ancient επισκοποι were persons who had the care of different congregations of the Church of Christ; who traveled, preached, enforced the discipline of the Church, and took care to prevent false doctrines, heresies, etc. Those who still deserve this title, and it is an august and noble one, walk by the same rule, and mind the same thing. Επισκοπος, episcopus, or bishop, is a scriptural and sacred title; was gloriously supported in the primitive Church; and many to the present day are not less ornaments to the title, than

the title is ornamental to them. The best defenses of the truth of God, and the Protestant faith, are in the works of the bishops of the British Churches. The words quoted from the Psalms were originally spoken against the enemies of David; and as David, in certain particulars, was a type of Christ, the words are applied to him in an especial manner who had sinned against his own soul and the life of his Master.

3. Gill, “For it is written in the book of Psalms,.... In Psa_69:25. These are the words of Peter, citing the Scripture he had said must be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost, by David, had spoke concerning Judas:
let his habitation be desolate. The Arabic and Ethiopic versions render it, "his city"; meaning, perhaps, the city of Jerusalem; and which afterwards did become desolate, and was utterly destroyed: and let no man dwell therein; in his habitation. The psalm, out of which these words are cited, is a psalm concerning the Messiah, and there are many passages cited out of it in the New Testament, and applied to him, or referred unto; see Joh_2:17 compared with Psa_69:4 and what the psalmist says of the enemies of the Messiah in general, is applied by the apostle to Judas in particular. In the Hebrew text, in Psa_69:25 the words are in the plural number, "let their habitation be desolate, and let none dwell in their tents"; and refer to all the enemies of Christ, the chief priests, elders of the people, Scribes and Pharisees, who covenanted with Judas to give him so much money to betray Christ into their hands; and who delivered him to the Roman governor, by whom, at their instigation, he was crucified; and particularly may well be thought to include Judas, who betrayed him to them; and therefore are very fitly interpreted of him: though not to be understood to the exclusion of the others, whose house was to be left desolate, and was left desolate, as our Lord predicted, Mat_23:38. The first word in the Hebrew text rendered "habitation", signifies a very magnificent dwelling; it is sometimes translated a "castle", Gen_25:16 and sometimes a "palace", Cant. 8:9, Eze_25:4 and it is interpreted by ‫ארמון‬, "a palace", here, by several Jewish writers (s); and so may intend the dwelling places of the richer sort of Christ's enemies, as the palaces of the high priest, and of the prince, or president of the sanhedrim, and the stately houses of the members of it, of the chief priests and elders of the people, and of the Scribes and Pharisees; all which became desolate at the destruction of Jerusalem: the other word, rendered "tents", may design the cottages of the meaner sort of people, who, with united voices, cried aloud for the crucifixion of Christ; and which also shared the same fate when Jerusalem was destroyed: now inasmuch as Judas was of the meaner sort, the apostle here makes use of a word which signifies but a poor and mean habitation, though it is sometimes used of grander ones, and which seems to answer to the latter; for as there are two words in the original text expressive of habitation, he might choose which he would, and did choose that which was most pertinent in the application of the passage to Judas. However, a Jew has no reason to find fault with this version, since the Targum renders both

words by "habitation", thus, let their habitation be desolate, and in their habitations let no one dwell: dwell where Judas's habitation was is not certain; but that he might have one as well as the Apostle John, is not at all improbable, and from hence seems evident: and his bishopric let another take; take which passage stands in Psa_109:8 and is fitly applied to Judas, and was verified in him, who not only died a violent and infamous death, by which he was in consequence stripped of his office, as a bishop, or overseer; but another was to be put into it, invested with it, and exercise it; and therefore very pertinently does Peter produce it, his intention being to move the disciples to choose another in his room. These words are produced by the apostle, as if they were to be found in the same place with the preceding; whereas they stand in another psalm, as has been observed: and this is no unusual thing with the writers of the New Testament, to put several passages of Scripture together, as if they were in one place, when they are to be sought for in different places; an instance of this, among many, that might be mentioned, is in Rom_3:10 and this is a very common way of citing Scripture with the Jews. Surenhusius (t) has given a variety of instances, in proof of this, out of their writings, as in the margin (u), which the learned reader may consult and compare at leisure. The psalm, out of which this passage is cited, is not to be understood of David literally, and of what he met with from his enemies, and of his imprecations upon them, either Doeg the Edomite, as Kimchi interprets it, or Ahithophel, as others, but of the Messiah, with whom the whole agrees; against whom the mouth of the wicked Jews, and particularly of the deceitful Pharisees, were opened; and against whom the false witnesses spoke with lying tongues; and who, all of them, compassed him with words of hatred to take away his life, and acted a most ungenerous and ungrateful part; opposed him without a cause, and became his enemies for his love showed to them, both to soul and body, preaching the Gospel, and healing diseases, Psa_109:2. The poverty and distress he submitted to; the griefs and sorrows which he bore; the fatigues he underwent at his examination; and the weakness of body he was then reduced to, as well as the reproach cast upon him on the cross, when his enemies shook their heads at him, are in a very lively manner described, Psa_ 109:22 and whereas one of his enemies particularly is singled out from the rest, what is said concerning him, by way of imprecation, suits with Judas, and had its accomplishment in him, Psa_ 109:6 who had a wicked man set over him, as over the rest of the Jews, Pilate, the Roman governor, a very wicked man; and at whose right hand Satan stood, as one of his council, as Aben Ezra interprets it, and put it into his heart to betray his master, and prompted him to it, and then

accused him of it, and brought him to black despair for it; and who, when this affair was brought home to his own conscience, and there arraigned for it, was convicted and self-condemned, as he also will be at the general judgment; and as he found no place of mercy then, whatever prayers or entreaties he might make, so neither will he hereafter: his days were but few, being cut off in the prime of them, as may be concluded from the many years which some of his fellow apostles lived after him; and his bishopric, or office, as an apostle, was taken by another, even by Matthias, who was chosen in his room, of which we have an account in the following part of this chapter; for this is to be understood neither of his money, nor of his wife, nor of his own soul committed to his trust, as some of the Jewish writers (w) explain it; but of his apostleship, with which he was invested by Christ. The word signifies an oversight, care, or charge; and so the Hebrew word ‫ פקודה‬is rendered in Num_3:32 and designs any office, as the office of the priests and Levites in the house of God; see Num_4:16. Jarchi interprets it here by ‫גדולתו‬, "his greatness", or "dignity"; and explains it by the Spanish word "provostia", an office of honour and authority, as this of being an apostle of Christ was; than which, a greater external dignity could not be enjoyed in the church of God, in which he has set first apostles, 1Co_12:28. That this psalm refers to Judas Iscariot, and to his affair, was so clear a point with the ancients, that they used to call it the Iscariotic Psalm. I lay no stress upon the observation some have made, that thirty curses are contained in it, the number of the pieces of silver for which he betrayed his master, since this may be thought to be too curious,

4. RWP, “For it is written (gegraptai gar). Luke here returns to the address of
Peter interrupted by Act_1:18, Act_1:19. Perfect passive indicative, the usual idiom in quoting scripture, stands written. Ps 69 is often quoted as Messianic in Matthew and John. His habitation (hē epaulis autou). Only here in the N.T., a country house, cottage, cabin. His office (tēn episkopēn autou). Our word bishopric (Authorized Version) is from this word, office of bishop (episcopos). Only that is not the idea here, but over-seership (epi,

skopeō) or office as in 1Pe_2:12. It means to visit and to inspect, to look over. The
ecclesiastical sense comes later (1Ti_3:1).

5. Jamison, “his bishopric — or “charge.” The words are a combination of Psa_ 69:25 and Psa_109:8; in which the apostle discerns a greater than David, and a worse than Ahithophel and his fellow conspirators against David.

6. VWS, “Habitation (ᅞπαυλις)
Only here in New Testament. The word is used in classical Greek of a place for cattle. So Herodotus (i., 111): “The herdsman took the child in his arms, and went back the way he had come, till he reached the fold” (ᅞπαυλιν). Also of farm-building, a country-house. Bishopric (ᅚπισκοπήν ᅚπισκοπήν) See on 1Pe_2:12. Rev., better, office, with overseership in margin. Compare Luk_ 19:44. Another (ᅟτερος) And different person. See on Act_2:4.

21Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

1. Barnes, “Wherefore of these men - Of those who had witnessed the life and works of Christ, and who were therefore qualified to discharge the duties of the office from which Judas fell. Probably Peter refers to the seventy disciples, Luk_10:1-2. Went in and out - A phrase signifying that he was their constant companion. It expresses in general all the actions of the life, Psa_121:8; Deu_28:19; Deu_31:2.

2. Clarke, “Which have companied with us - They judged it necessary to fill up this blank in the apostolate by a person who had been an eye witness of the acts of our Lord. Went in and out - A phrase which includes all the actions of life.

3. Gill, “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us,.... Seeing
there was such an imprecation, which carried in it the nature of a prophecy, that another

should take the bishopric of Judas, or be made an apostle in his room, it was absolutely necessary that one should be immediately chosen to that office; and this is the force of the illative particle, wherefore; and it was highly proper that this choice should be of one among the men, and not the women; whom it did not become to bear any office, and exercise any authority in the church; hence it is said, "of these men", to the exclusion of women: and it was exceeding right, and a very good notion, that the choice should be of one from among themselves, and who was known unto them; with whose abilities, integrity, wisdom, and holy conversation, they were acquainted: and therefore it is added, "which have companied with us"; one of our own company, and not a stranger; with whom we have familiarly conversed, and whose character is well known to us: a rule which ought to be attended to, in the choice of inferior officers, as pastors and deacons; who ought to be of the body and community, among whom they are chosen to an office; and their qualifications for it be well known, and that for some time past, as follows: all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us; that is, ever since Christ called them to be his disciples and followers; and conversed with them, and discharged his office among them, governed, directed, taught, and instructed them; for it was not proper that a novice, a new plant, or one that was lately become a disciple, should be put into such an office; and the same holds good in proportion in other offices; men called to office should be of some standing, as well as of superior gifts.

4. Henry, “The motion he makes for the choice of another apostle, Act_1:21, Act_
1:22. Here observe, (1.) How the person must be qualified that must fill the vacancy. It must be one of these men, these seventy disciples, that have companied with us, that have constantly attended us, all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, preaching and working miracles for three years and a half, beginning from the baptism of John, from which the gospel of Christ commenced, unto that same day that he was taken up from us. Those that have been diligent, faithful, and constant, in the discharge of their duty in a lower station, are fittest to be preferred to a higher; those that have been faithful in a little shall be entrusted with more. And none should be employed as ministers of Christ, preachers of his gospel, and rulers in his church, but those that are well acquainted with his doctrine and doings, from first to last. None shall be an apostle but one that has companied with the apostles, and that continually; not that has visited them now and then, but been intimately conversant with them. (2.) To what work he is called that must fill up the vacancy: He must be a witness with us of his resurrection. By this it appears that others of the disciples were with the eleven when Christ appeared to them, else they could not have been witnesses with them, as competent witnesses as they, of his resurrection. The great thing which the apostles were to attest to the world was Christ's resurrection, for this was the great proof of his being the Messiah, and the foundation of our hope in him. See what the apostles were ordained to, not to a secular dignity and dominion, but to preach Christ, and the power of his resurrection.

5. Jamison, “all the time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us — in the close intimacies of a three years’ public life. 6. SBC, “The Christian Ministry
I. Consider what may be gathered, in regard to the office and qualifications of an

Apostle, from that portion of Scripture brought before you by the services of the day. You will observe that St. Peter defines the office as that of being a witness to the resurrection of Christ, and requires that the appointed individual should be taken from those who had been associated with Christ through His earthly ministrations. So thoroughly is the resurrection an epitome of redemption—so completely may the whole of Christianity, whether as to evidence or doctrine, be gathered into the one truth, "The Lord is risen, the Lord is risen indeed,"—that in witnessing to the event which Easter commemorates, they witnessed to all which a sinful world was most concerned to know. II. But why, if it were only of the resurrection that the apostles were to be witnesses—if they witnessed to everything in witnessing to this—was it necessary that the man chosen to the apostleship should be selected from those who had from the first been associated with Christ? The necessity is alleged in the text, and its reasons may be easily discerned. Those alone were fitted to bear testimony that Christ had risen, who had been much with Him before He went down into the grave, and much with Him after he had left it. Unless both conditions were fulfilled, there could be no convincing testimony. The Apostle must have been much with Christ not only after His resurrection, but before His crucifixion; for thus alone could he be fit to judge whether it was actually the Being who had been nailed to the tree, who was now claiming to have overcome death. We see, then, how St. Peter gathers into our text a just description of the qualifications of an apostle. It was the resurrection to which they were to give prominence and on which they were to lay stress, and if it were of the resurrection that the Apostles were called to be witnesses, their having been associated from first to last with Christ was indispensable to the placing their testimony beyond the reach of cavil. We see, therefore, with what propriety St. Peter declared that "Of those who had companied with us all the time that the Lord was among us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection." H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1858

I. We here see one secret of the superhuman strength which sustained the Apostles in the fiery trials through which they were destined to pass. They were strong, not because of any secret possession peculiar to them as Apostles, but simply because the mysteries of another world, closing in around them, had become an abiding vision, and issued through their faithfulness to the work of grace within them, in a consistent conformity of thought and act which was above the world. They had, therefore, in all their bearing a singleness, an ease, a dignity, an energy, before which the powers of this lower world gave way. They thus acted and suffered, because they lived and moved in the realities of an inner creation, which imparted its own colour and tone to all their views and judgments. Rut this grave power was independent of their special gift as Apostles, and was promised to abide in the Church for ever. II. This aspect of the lives of the Apostles bears on our own history. We are so apt to look on the life depicted in the Acts of the Apostles as a kind of heroic form of Christianity, which has passed away, and that we have inherited only the possibilities of a lower state, more accommodated to the actual circumstances of modern society. Such a supposition is fatal to all high sanctity or real faithfulness. Moreover, it is to mistake the very meaning and object of the Acts of the Apostles. In the Acts we behold the Church in its abiding form, as it arose through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and as it was promised to continue through the grace of His unfailing presence even to the end. III. The following simple rules will by the grace of God tend to cherish that pure inner light on which the increase of spiritual perception depends. (1) Fill up some of the vacant

spaces of the day with recurring ejaculatory prayers. (2) Practice con-temptation in some form, however simple. (3) Study Holy Scripture at times in prayer on your knees. (4) Learn to view all acts, all words and thoughts, as they will appear at the day of judgment. (5) Beware of a religion which depends on ardent impulses or occasional efforts. T. T. Carter, Sermons, p. 151.

7. BI, "Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.
The familiar side of Christ’s life There are many ways of regarding the life of Christ: e.g., the philosophical or ideal, as in John’s Gospel; the historical, in its larger world relation, as in Luke and St. Paul’s Epistles; or, as here, the familiar. A proverbial touch may be detected in the phraseology of the text recalling Psa_121:8. Such an expression indicates “the daily round” as distinguished from the special occasions of life. Note two or three reflections upon the great fact of the dwelling amongst us of God’s Son. I. This contact must be a ground for the most complete sympathy between Him and us. 1. How thoroughly He shared the occupation, interest, and outlook of man. He entered into human thought, and looked upon the universe as it appears to the human eye and mind. Nothing human was indifferent to Him. All questions of labour, of the family, of social or political affairs, were and are of concern to Him. He is one with us. 2. He was a partaker in the suffering and shame of men. Pain, sorrow, disappointment, formed the alphabet of His experience as of ours. These were for Him a discipline as well as for us, and He regarded them and the problems they present as one of ourselves. II. How independent christ was of external circumstances and associates. It has been said that “no man is a hero to his valet.” Familiarity breeds, if not contempt, at any rate, loss of reverence. Can we conceive of Jesus losing in moral dignity or the esteem of men by daily intercourse? Here He receives the title “Lord,” and His going in and put is “over” His people, i.e., authoritatively, as shepherd over his sheep. He chose a life least calculated to produce social or political effects, yet His influence was enhanced by that fact. His work so absolutely depended on Himself that political influence or high social position mould have injured it. But was He Himself affected by His station in life? Carlyle’s vices, we are told by Froude, were to be looked for, considering his nature and upbringing as a Scottish peasant, and even his virtues were those of people of humble circumstances. Were the virtues of the Peasant of Galilee subject to this drawback? Nay; for we see how He towers above His contemporaries and followers. To such an age He could owe nothing, and the best of all ages have done Him homage and tried to imitate Him. III. It is just this “daily round” of life that needs saving. Five-sixths of life consists of routine, and what would be the use of a religion that could not affect this? There is a constant tendency to detach the common things of life from moral considerations. Christ’s parables discovered the mystery of the kingdom of heaven that was latent in men’s daily lives. Who shall tell how much the childhood of Jesus has done to purify home life, or His work as a carpenter to ennoble labour? (A. F. Muir, M. A.)

The election of Saint Matthias considered and applied On the day which is appointed to commemorate the Apostle Matthias, our Church has selected for the Epistle a portion of Scripture from the Acts of the Apostles, the only portion of Scripture in which his name is to be found. Whatever else is related of him in uninspired authors is attended with uncertainty, however worthy of remembrance. One circumstance is mentioned concerning him by two respectable writers among the early Christians, viz., that he was one of the seventy disciples whom the Lord Christ, during His earthly ministry, sent forth to work miracles and to preach in His name. This circumstance proves that he was known to Christ, and Christ to him; and that Christ had distinguished him among His followers. I. The first piece of instruction which I think we may learn from this portion of Scripture history is that among the good and faithful servants of God bad and unfaithful men my be found. Judas Iscariot was a traitor among the twelve apostles. Satan, as we read in the Book of Job, was among the sons of God when they came to present themselves to Jehovah. Among the early converts to the faith of Christ, Ananias and Sapphira, and Simon Magus, were discovered to be insincere. Our Saviour’s parables of the wheat and tares growing in the same field, and of the good and bad fish caught in the same net, give us the like view of His Church here on earth. We know that His Church triumphant will be presented to Him “a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish.” The ministers of Christ’s Church, though especially called to be examples to the people whom they are appointed to teach and lead, are certainly not exempt from this corrupting influence: neither is it to be expected that they should be. They are still but men, liable to temptation as the rest of mankind, and subject to the peculiar temptations of their calling. II. But another piece of instruction which we may learn from this portion of Scripture history is that, though wickedness be foreknown, foretold, and predetermined by God, it is wickedness notwithstanding. To God, who knows all things, it was certainly known that Judas would act the part which history relates he did. Was Judas, then, innocent on this account? Mark the language of the historian in writing of it: “This man [Judas] purchased a field with the reward of his iniquity.” Take another instance of the like kind in our Lord Jesus Christ: “Him,” says St. Peter, “being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Let no Christian, therefore, set the foreknowledge and predestination of God against the willing agency and responsibility of man, as if they were inconsistent and at variance with each other, and could not both be true. And let those who would excuse their impieties, by pretending a fatal necessity, be told that, if their sins be decreed and inevitable, so also is their punishment; and if they cannot but choose the one, they must equally choose the other. III. A third piece of instruction which we may learn from this portion of Scripture history is that when, by death or otherwise, a minister of Christ’s church is removed from his customary sphere of spiritual labour, it is the duty of the bishop, patron, and people, as far as lies in them, to appoint a good and well-qualified minister in his place. We may notice, however, in the election of Matthias what was thought particularly necessary for his office. “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that He was taken from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection.” It was an accurate knowledge of Jesus, from the beginning of His public ministry, which was from the time of His being baptised by John to the day of His ascension into heaven. And this knowledge was to qualify the apostle to be a witness of the resurrection of Jesus. Next, therefore, to honesty of character and

sincerity of affection to Jesus, this information was a needful quality in a preacher of the gospel. The same quality is still needed in preachers of the gospel, though not to, be obtained from visible intercourse with the holy Jesus. They ought to be well acquainted with the history of His life; with the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning Him; with the manner of their fulfilment, as far as they have been fulfilled; and with all the evidences which clearly prove Him to be “the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” To state this knowledge properly and effectually, their hearts also ought to be warmed with love to Jesus, and to the sinners whom He came “to seek and to save.” IV. A fourth piece of instruction which we may learn from this portion of Scripture history is the duty of prayer in the case of the ordination of ministers generally, and on the appointment of any individual minister to some particular field of labour in the church of God. This duty was carefully performed by the apostles and disciples of Christ in the instance before us. Let private prayer be added to that which is public, that the Holy Spirit may direct the minds and hearts of all parties concerned in the ordination of ministers. Having thus prayed in faith, they should receive the minister sent to them as Christ’s ambassador, to be reverenced for the sake of the King, his divine Master. But, more than this, their prayers should be seconded and followed up by active and cheerful efforts to help him in the great work to which he is called; to unite with him, in their several spheres and stations, in promoting and extending his labour of love, in teaching the young and ignorant, in strengthening the weak, in correcting those who fall into error; and, by their own bright and consistent example, glorifying God, and causing God to be glorified by others, through them. (W. D. Johnston, M. A.)

The reality and requirements of the Christian ministry (Ordination Sermon):— 1. Here was one of the noblest ventures of faith ever made by man. Viewed from the world’s side, it was, as great faith always is, frivolous trifling or daring madness. A little company of ignorant men, in a small province of the Roman world, had for three years followed up and down their land a new teacher, who professed to come from God, but had been crucified and slain. They had been terrified and scattered, and now they gather together in an upper room, and talk of choosing one in the traitor’s stead to complete their broken number. They speak great words: they seem to look forth into the wide world around, as though it waited for them, as though they had a message for it, and power over it. Either their minds were full of the darkest delusions, or they were acting in the very might of God. And which was the truth the event may tell us. Prom that completed company a voice awoke to which the world did listen, and before which it fell. No visible strength dwelt in them as they went forth on their errand. They were scourged, imprisoned, slain. Their weapons were endurance, submission, love, faith, martyrdom—and with these they triumphed. They preached “Jesus and the resurrection,” and hard souls yielded and were gathered into the new company, and wore its cross and carried on its triumphs, until the world trembled at the change which was passing on itself. And so they have advanced with unfaltering step from that day to this, until all that is mightiest in power, and greatest in nobleness, and highest in intellect, has bowed down in adoration before that witness of the resurrection of Jesus. 2. The acts which we are here this day to do are but the carrying out of those which then were wrought, and we may see in the course of their work what should be the issue of ours. Here is—

I. The strength in which each one of those sent forth is to labour, and the spirit in which he is to be received. Here is his strength—he is called by God to this office (and woe be to him if he rush into it uncalled), and goes about God’s work: he may be, he ought to be, conscious of weakness, and therefore he may be strong; for conscious feebleness may drive him from himself to God in Christ. In spite of appearances, at all times in his ministry there is strength for him: “I witness not of myself, but of the resurrection of my Lord; my words are not mine, but His; I witness not by strength, but by weakness, glorying in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” And as having such an office they are to be received, not for their natural eloquence or power, not for their acquired skill or learning, but for the supernatural presence which will make their weakness strong. II. The nature of their charge—they are sent to bear the witness of Christ’s resurrection. All is shut up in this. They come from God to the world with the message of reconciliation; and this message is the incarnation of the eternal Son, His death, His rising again, and from this the truth of the ever-blessed Trinity, and man’s restored relation to his God. This is what man’s heart longs for unconsciously, and what the asceticism of the natural man is so restlessly craving for where it can never find it. III. How are we to discharge this great vocation? 1. We must be deep students of God’s Word. Where else are we to learn our witness of Christ’s resurrection? Here it is written clear and full—in the Old Testament in type, prophecy, and promise; in the New in fulfilment, act, history, and grace. In it, day by day, we must live with Him. Thus must our message sink into our own hearts. Even as they “who companied with” Him “all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among them,” learned unawares, day by day, the truth they needed, so must it be with us. 2. We must be men of prayer. The union of these two is the essence of the apostolical character. “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and the ministry of the Word”; and without prayer we cannot bear this burden. How without it shall we have an insight into Scripture? how turn what we read to profit? how have power with God or with our brethren? In prayer, in real, hearty, earnest prayer, all things around us are set into their proper places. In prayer our minds are armed for the coming temptations of the day; they are cooled, refreshed, and calmed after its vexations, fatigues, and anxiety. On our knees, if anywhere, we learn to love the souls of our people; to hate our own sins; to trust in Him who shows us then His wounded side and pierced hands, and to love Him with our whole heart. Nothing will make up for the lack of prayer. The busiest ministry without it is sure to become shallow and bustling. To come forth from secret communing with Him, and bear our witness, and to retire again behind the veil to pour out our hearts before Him in unceasing intercessions and devout adorations, this is, indeed, the secret of a blessed, fruitful ministry. Nor let us suppose that at once, and by the force of a single resolution, we can become men of prayer. The spirit of devotion is the gift of God; thou must seek it long and earnestly; and His grace will work it in thy heart. Thou must practise it and labour for it. Thou must pray often if thou wouldest pray well. 3. We must be men of holiness. (1) Because without this there cannot be reality in our witness. We cannot testify of the resurrection of Christ unless we ourselves have known its power. Even though our lives be correct, yet our lives must be unreal unless the truths we speak have thoroughly pervaded our own souls. If we have for ourselves no living faith in a risen Saviour, we cannot speak of Him with power to others. We must be great saints if we would have our people holy. The pastor’s character forms, to a great degree, the character of his flock. We must show them in our risen lives

that Christ indeed is risen. This is a witness, from the force of which they cannot escape. (2) Because we are in the kingdom of God’s grace, and to us is committed a dispensation of His grace. Every act of ours will be real and effectual only so far as God’s grace goes with it; and though He may be, and is, pleased to work by His grace even at the hands of the unholy, yet who can say how greatly such unfaithfulness does mar His work, how much is lost which might be gained? How can the other necessities of our character be supplied if we fail here? How can we be students of God’s Word without God’s grace? How can they pray for themselves or their people who have not the Spirit of grace and supplication? How can they draw down the blessed dew on others who even repel it from themselves? Who can have daily audience of our King but those who dwell within His courts? (Bp. S. Wilberforce.)

Witnesses of the resurrection The fact of Christ’s resurrection was the staple of the first Christian sermon. The apostles did not deal so much in doctrine; but they proclaimed what they had seen. There are three main connections in which the fact is viewed in Scripture. It was— 1. A fact affecting Him, carrying with it necessarily some great truths with regard to His character, nature, and work. And it was in that aspect mainly that the earliest preachers dealt with it. 2. Then, as the Spirit led them to understand more and more of it, it came to be a pattern, pledge, and prophecy of their own. 3. And then it came to be a symbol of spiritual resurrection. The text branches out into three considerations. I. The witnesses. Here we have the “head of the Apostolic College,” on whose supposed primacy—which is certainly not a “rock”—such tremendous claims have been built, laying down the qualifications and the functions of an apostle. How simply they present themselves to His mind. The qualifications are only personal knowledge of Jesus Christ in His earthly history, because the function is only to attest His resurrection. The same conception lies in Christ’s last designation, “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” It appears again and again in the earlier address reported in this book. “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses,” etc., etc. How striking the contrast this idea presents to the portentous theories of later times. The work of the apostles in Christ’s lifetime embraced three elements, none of which were peculiar to them—to be with Christ, to preach, and to work miracles; their characteristic work after His ascension was this of witness-bearing. The Church did not owe to them its extension, nor Christian doctrine its form, and whilst Peter and James and John appear in the history, and Matthew wrote a Gospel, and the other James and Jude are the authors of brief Epistles, the rest of the twelve never appear afterwards. This book is not the Acts of the Apostles. It tells the work of Peter alone among the twelve. The Hellenists Stephen and Philip, the Cypriote Barnabas—and the man of Tarsus, greater than they all—these spread the name of Christ beyond the limits of the Holy City and the chosen people. The solemn power of “binding and loosing” was not a prerogative of the twelve, for we read that Jesus came where “the disciples were assembled,” and “He breathed on them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, whose soever sins ye remit they are remitted.” Where in all this is a trace of the special apostolic powers which have been alleged to be transmitted from them? Nowhere. Who was it that came and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord hath sent me that thou mightest be filled with the Holy Ghost”? A simple “layman.” Who was it that stood by, a

passive and astonished spectator of the communication of spiritual gifts to Gentile converts, and could only say, “Forasmuch, then, as God gave them the like gift, as He did unto us, what was I that I could withstand God?” Peter, the leader of the twelve. Their task was apparently a humbler, really a far more important, one. They had to lay broad and deep the basis for all the growth and grace of the Church in the facts which they witnessed. To that work there can be no successors. II. The sufficiency of the testimony. Peter regards (as does the whole New Testament) the witness which he and his fellows bore as enough to lay firm and deep the historical fact of the resurrection. 1. If we think of Christianity as being mainly a set of truths, then, of course, the way to prove Christianity is to show the consistency of its truths with one another and with other truths, their derivation from admitted principles, their reasonableness, their adaptation to men’s nature, and the refining and elevating effects of their adoption, and so on. If we think of Christianity, on the other hand, as being first a set of historical facts which carry the doctrines, then the way to prove Christianity is not to show how reasonable it is, etc. These are legitimate ways of establishing principles; but the way to establish a fact is only one—that is, to find somebody that can say, “I know it, for I saw it.” And my belief is that the course of modern “apologetics” has departed from its real stronghold when it has consented to argue the question on these lower and less sufficing grounds. The gospel is first and foremost a history, and you cannot prove that a thing has happened by showing how very desirable it is that it should happen, etc. all that is irrelevant. It is true because sufficient eye-witnesses assert it. 2. With regard to the sufficiency of the specific evidence— (1) Suppose you yield up everything that modern scepticism can demand about the date and authorship of the New Testament, we have still left four letters of Paul’s which nobody has ever denied, viz., the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, whose dates bring them within five-and-twenty years of the alleged date of Christ’s resurrection, Now we find in all of them the distinct allegation of this fact, and side by side with it the reference to his own vision of the risen Saviour, which carries us up within ten years of the alleged fact. It was not a handful of women who fancied they had seen Him once, very early in dim twilight of morning, but it was half a thousand of them that had beheld Him. He had been seen by them, not once, but often; not far off, but close at hand; not in one place, but in Galilee and Jerusalem; at all hours of the day, abroad and in the house, walking and sitting, speaking and eating, by them singly and in numbers. He had been seen too by incredulous eyes and surprised hearts, who doubted ere they worshipped; and the world may be thankful that they were slow of heart to believe. (2) Would not this testimony be enough to guarantee any event but this? And if so, why is not it enough to guarantee this, too? If the resurrection be not a fact, then the belief in it was— (a) A delusion. But it was not; for such an illusion is altogether unexampled. Nations have said, “Our king is not dead—he is gone away and he will come back.” Loving disciples have said, “Our Teacher lives in solitude, and will return to us.” But this is no parallel to these. This is not a fond imagination giving an apparent substance to its own creation, but sense recognising the fact. And to suppose that that should have been the rooted conviction of hundreds of men that were not idiots finds no parallel in the history and no

analogy in legend. (b) A myth; but a myth does not grow in ten years. And there was no motive to frame if Christ was dead and all was over. (c) A deceit; but the character of the men, and the absence of self-interest, and the persecutions which they endured, made that inconceivable. (3) And all this we are asked to put aside at the outrageous assertion which no man that believes in a God can logically maintain, viz., that— (a) No testimony can reach to the miraculous. But cannot testimony reach to this: I know, because I saw, that a man was dead, and I saw him alive again? If testimony can do that, I think we may safely leave the verbal sophism that it cannot reach to the miraculous to take care of itself. (b) Miracle is impossible. But that is an illogical begging of the whole question, and cannot avail to brush aside testimony. You cannot smother facts by theories in that fashion. One would like to know how it comes that our modern men of science who protest so much against science being corrupted by metaphysics should commit themselves to an assertion like that? Surely that is stark, staring metaphysics. Let them keep to their own line, and tell us all that crucibles and scalpels can reveal, and we will listen as becomes us. But when they contradict their own principles in order to deny the possibility of miracles, we need only give them back their own words, and ask that the investigation of facts shall not be hampered and clogged with metaphysical prejudices. III. The importance of the fact which is thus borne witness to. 1. With the Resurrection stands or falls the Divinity of Christ. Christ said, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and the third day He shall rise again.” Now, if Death holds Him still, then what becomes of these words, and of our estimate of the Character of Him, the speaker? Let us hear no more about the pure morality of Jesus Christ. Take away the Resurrection and we have left beautiful precepts, and fair wisdom deformed with a monstrous self-assertion, and the constant reiteration of claims which the event proves to have been baseless. Either He has risen from the dead or His words were blasphemy. “Declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead,” or that which our lips refuse to say even in a hypothesis! 2. With the Resurrection stands or falls Christ’s whole work for our redemption. If He died, like other men, we have no proof that the Cross was anything but a martyr’s. His resurrection is the proof that His death was not the tribute which for Himself He had to pay, but the ransom for us. If He has not risen, He has not put away sin; and if He has not put it away by the sacrifice of Himself, none has, and it remains. We come back to the old dreary alternative: if Christ be not risen your faith is vain, and our preaching is vain, etc. And if He be not risen, there is no resurrection for us; and the world is desolate, and the heaven is empty, and the grave is dark, and sin abides, and death is eternal. Well, then, may we take up the ancient glad salutation, “The Lord is risen”; and turning from these thoughts of the disaster and despair that that awful supposition drags after it, fall back upon the sober certainty, and with the apostle break forth in triumph, “Now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first-fruits of them that slept.” (A. Maclaren, D. D)

8. CALVI , "We must therefore. This which he bringeth in might seem, at the first sight, to be far set [fetched.] For if so be it David did speak of transposing 66 Judas’s bishopric, it did not thereupon straightway follow that the disciples should choose another to be his successor; yet, because they knew that they had this charge given them to order the Church, so soon as Peter had told them that it did please the Lord that it should be so, he gathereth thereupon that they ought to do it. For whensoever God will use as means, 67 to maintain the government of his Church, so soon as we know what his will is, we must not linger, but stoutly perform whatsoever is required in our ministry (and function.) That was, without all controversy, what was the duty of the Church; like as, at this day, when we hear that those must be put from their office which behave themselves ungodly and wickedly, and that others must be chosen in their rooms, the Church must take this charge in hand. Wherefore, it was superfluous to move any question about a thing that was not to be doubted of. Therefore, let us always remember to consider what we have to do, that we may be ready to obey the Lord. Furthermore, when as he intreateth of the making of an apostle, he saith, He must be a witness of the resurrection; which signifieth that the apostleship is not without the preaching of the gospel. Whence it may appear how vain and frivolous the Popish bishops are, which having on only dumb visors, brag that they are the successors of the apostles; but wherein are they like unto them? I grant that Peter doth here require such a witness as saw the Lord after his resurrection, of which sort John professeth himself to be one, when he saith, “He which saw it beareth witness,” (John 19:35.) For this did serve for the confirmation of faith; yet, nevertheless, Peter maketh it a thing necessary in him and the rest of his fellows in office, that they should teach, whilst he maketh them and himself preachers or witnesses of the resurrection. He nameth the resurrection, not because they must bear witness thereof alone; but because, first, under this is comprehended the preaching of the death of Christ; secondly, because we have the end of our redemption therein, and the accomplishment thereof, and also it bringeth with it the celestial government of Christ, and the power of the Spirit in defending his, in establishing justice and equity, in restoring order, in abolishing the tyranny of sin, and in putting to flight all the enemies of the Church. Let us know, therefore, that those things are not excluded by this word which are necessarily knit together. evertheless, let us note that the resurrection is here named before other things, as being the chief point of the gospel, as also Paul teacheth, (1 Corinthians 15:17.) But were the apostles alone witnesses of the resurrection? Was not this also common to the rest of the disciples? For Peter seemeth to challenge this as proper only to the apostles. I answer, that this title is therefore attributed unto them, because they were chosen peculiarly unto that function, and because they had the chief room amongst those which did bring this embassage; therefore, though they were the chief of those which were assigned, yet were not they only appointed thereunto. All that time. He beginneth at that time when Jesus began to show himself unto the world, which is diligently to be observed, as before I have said; for he lived privately until such time as he was almost thirty years of age. For he would not make himself known further than was needful for our salvation. Therefore, when the time was come wherein he must go about that business which his Father had appointed him,

he came abroad like a new man, and one that was but lately born. Every man may easily perceive what great force this hath to bridle our curiosity. The whole life of Christ might have been a mirror most marvelous, 68 of more than absolute perfection; and yet, notwithstanding, that he might keep us occupied in the study and meditation of those things which were most needful to be known, he would lead the better part of his life obscurely and in secret. 69 Who dare now wander without Christ, seeing that he doth apply the knowledge of himself to the edifying of faith? The Hebrews take this, to go in and out, for to be conversant and to lead the life among men. In which sense, citizens are said to go in and out by the gates of their city; so John 10:9, “If any man enter in by me, he shall go in and out, and shall find pasture.” Although, in the Second Book of the Chronicles, the first chapter, and tenth verse, it seemeth to be a token of rule and government. 9. MACLARE , “THE APOSTOLIC WITNESSES
The fact of Christ’s Resurrection was the staple of the first Christian sermon recorded in this Book of the Acts of the Apostles. They did not deal so much in doctrine; they did not dwell very distinctly upon what we call, and rightly call, the atoning death of Christ; out they proclaimed what they had seen with their eyes-that He died and rose again. And not only was the main subject of their teaching the Resurrection, but it was the Resurrection in one of its aspects and for one specific purpose. There are, speaking roughly, three main connections in which the fact of Christ’s rising from the dead is viewed in Scripture, and these three successively emerge in the consciousness of the Early Church. It was, first, a fact affecting Him, a testimony concerning Him, carrying with it necessarily some great truths with regard to Him, His character, His nature, and His work. And it was in that aspect mainly that the earliest preachers dealt with it. Then, as reflection and the guidance of God’s good Spirit led them to understand more and more of the treasure which lay in the fact, it came to be to them, next, a pattern, and a pledge, and a prophecy of their own resurrection. The doctrine of man’s immortality and the future life was evolved from it, and was felt to be implied in it. And then it came to be, thirdly and lastly, a symbol or figure of the spiritual resurrection and newness of life into which all they were born who participated in His death. They knew Him first by His Resurrection; they then knew ‘the power of His Resurrection’ as a pledge of their own; and lastly, they knew it as being the pattern to which they were to be conformed even whilst here on earth. The words which I have read for my text are the Apostle Peter’s own description of what was the office of an Apostle-’to be a witness with us of Christ’s Resurrection.’ And the statement branches out, I think, into three considerations, to which I ask your attention now. First, we have here the witnesses; secondly, we have the sufficiency of their testimony; and thirdly, we have the importance of the fact to which they bear their witness. The Apostles are testimony-bearers. Their witness is enough to establish the fact. The fact to which they witness is all-important for the religion and the hopes of the world.

I. First, then, the Witnesses. Here we have the ‘head of the Apostolic College,’ the ‘primate’ of the Twelve, on whose supposed primacy-which is certainly not a ‘rock’-such tremendous claims have been built, laying down the qualifications and the functions of an Apostle. How simply they present themselves to his mind! The qualification is only personal knowledge of Jesus Christ in His earthly history, because the function is only to attest His Resurrection. Their work was to bear witness to what they had seen with their eyes; and what was needed, therefore, was nothing more than such familiarity with Christ as should make them competent witnesses to the fact that He died, and to the fact that the same Jesus who had died, and whom they knew so well, rose again and went up to heaven. The same conception of an Apostle’s work lies in Christ’s last solemn designation of them for their office, where their whole commission is included in the simple words, ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.’ It appears again and again in the earlier addresses reported in this book. ‘This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.’ ‘Whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses.’ ‘With great power gave the Apostles witness of the Resurrection.’ ‘We are His witnesses of these things.’ To Cornelius, Peter speaks of the Apostles as ‘witnesses chosen before of God, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead’-and whose charge, received from Christ, was ‘to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.’ Paul at Antioch speaks of the Twelve, from whom he distinguishes himself, as being ‘Christ’s witnesses to the people’-and seems to regard them as specially commissioned to the Jewish nation, while he was sent to ‘declare unto you’-Gentiles-the same ‘glad tidings,’ in that ‘God had raised up Jesus again.’ So we might go on accumulating passages, but these will suffice. I need not spend time in elaborating or emphasising the contrast which the idea of the Apostolic office contained in these simple words presents to the portentous theories of later times. I need only remind you that, according to the Gospels, the work of the Apostles in Christ’s lifetime embraced three elements, none of which were peculiar to them-to be with Christ, to preach, and to work miracles; that their characteristic work after His Ascension was this of witness-bearing; that the Church did not owe to them as a body its extension, nor Christian doctrine its form; that whilst Peter and James and John appear in the history, and Matthew perhaps wrote a Gospel, and the other James and Jude are probably the authors of the brief Epistles which bear their names-the rest of the Twelve never appear in the subsequent history. The Acts of the Apostles is a misnomer for Luke’s second ‘treatise.’ It tells the work of Peter alone among the Twelve. The Hellenists Stephen and Philip, the Cypriote Barnabas, and the man of Tarsusgreater than them all- these spread the name of Christ beyond the limits of the Holy City and the chosen people. The solemn power of ‘binding and loosing’ was not a prerogative of the Twelve, for we read that Jesus came where ‘the disciples were assembled,’ and that ‘the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord’; and ‘He breathed on them, and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted.”‘ Where in all this is there a trace of the special Apostolic powers which have been alleged to be transmitted from them? Nowhere. Who was it that came and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord hath sent me that thou mightest be filled with the Holy Ghost’? A simple ‘layman’! Who was it that stood by, a passive and astonished spectator of the communication of spiritual gifts to Gentile converts, and could only say, ‘Forasmuch, then, as God gave them the like gift, as He did unto us, what was I that I could withstand God?’ Peter, the leader of the Twelve! Their task was apparently a humbler, really a far more important one. Their place was

apparently a lowlier, really a loftier one. They had to lay broad and deep the basis for all the growth and grace of the Church, in the facts which they witnessed. Their work abides; and when the Celestial City is revealed to our longing hearts, in its foundations will be read ‘the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.’ Their office was testimony; and their testimony was to this effect-’Hearken, we eleven men knew this Jesus. Some of us knew Him when He was a boy, and lived beside that little village where He was brought up. We were with Him for three whole years in close contact day and night. We all of us, though we were cowards, stood afar off with a handful of women when He was crucified. We saw Him dead. We saw His grave. We saw Him living, and we touched Him, and handled Him, and He ate and drank with us; and we, sinners that we are that tell it you, we went out with Him to the top of Olivet, and we saw Him go up into the skies. Do you believe us or do you not? We do not come in the first place to preach doctrines. We are not thinkers or moralists. We are plain men, telling a plain story, to the truth of which we pledge our senses. We do not want compliments about our spiritual elevation, or our pure morality. We do not want reverence as possessors of mysterious and exclusive powers. We want you to believe us as honest men, relating what we have seen. There are eleven of us, and there are five hundred at our back, and we have all got the one simple story to tell. It is, indeed, a gospel, a philosophy, a theology, the reconciliation of earth and heaven, the revelation of God to man, and of man to himself, the unveiling of the future world, the basis of hope; but we bring it to you first as a thing that happened upon this earth of ours, which we saw with our eyes, and of which we are the witnesses.’ To that work there can be no successors. Some of the Apostles were inspired to be the writers of the authoritative fountains of religious truth; but that gift did not belong to them all, and was not the distinctive possession of the Twelve. The power of working miracles, and of communicating supernatural gifts, was not confined to them, but is found exercised by other believers, as well as by a whole ‘presbytery.’ And as for what was properly their task, and their qualifications, there can be no succession, for there is nothing to succeed to, but what cannot be transmitted-the sight of the risen Saviour, and the witness to His Resurrection as a fact certified by their senses. II. The sufficiency of the testimony. Peter regards (as does the whole New Testament, and as did Peter’s Master, when He appointed these men) the witness which he and his fellows bore as enough to lay firm and deep the historical fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first point that I would suggest here is this: if we think of Christianity as being mainly a set of truths-spiritual, moral, intellectual-then, of course, the way to prove Christianity is to show the consistency of that body of truths with one another, their consistency with other truths, their derivation from admitted principles, their reasonableness, their adaptation to men’s nature, the refining and elevating effects of their adoption, and so on. If we think of Christianity, on the other hand, as being first a set of historical facts which carry the doctrines, then the way to prove Christianity is not to show how reasonable it is, not to show how it has been anticipated and expected and desired, not to show how it corresponds with men’s needs and men’s longings, not to show what large and blessed results follow from its acceptance. All these are legitimate ways of establishing principles; but the way to establish a fact is only one-that is, to find somebody that can say, ‘I know it, for I saw it.’ And my belief is that the course of modern ‘apologetics,’ as they are called-methods of defending Christianity-has followed too slavishly the devious course of modern antagonism, and has departed from its real stronghold when it has consented to argue the question on these (as I take them to be) lower and less sufficing grounds. I am

thankful to adopt all that wise Christian apologists may have said in regard to the reasonableness of Christianity; its correspondence with men’s wants, the blessings that follow from it, and so forth; but the Gospel is first and foremost a history, and you cannot prove that a thing has happened by showing how very desirable it is that it should happen, how reasonable it is to expect that it should happen, what good results would follow from believing that it has happened-all that is irrelevant. Think of it as first a history, and then you are shut up to the old-fashioned line of evidence, irrefragable as I take it to be, to which all these others may afterwards be appended as confirmatory. It is true, because sufficient eye-witnesses assert it. It did happen, because it is commended to us by the ordinary canons of evidence which we accept in regard to all other matters of fact. With regard to the sufficiency of the specific evidence here, I wish to make only one or two observations. Suppose you yield up everything that the most craving and unreasonable modern scepticism can demand as to the date and authorship of these tracts that make the New Testament, we have still left four letters of the Apostle Paul, which no one has ever denied, which the very extremest professors of the ‘higher criticism’ themselves accept. These four are the Epistles to the Romans, the first and second to the Corinthians, and that to the Galatians. The dates which are assigned to these four letters by any one, believer or unbeliever, bring them within five-and-twenty years of the alleged date of Christ’s resurrection. Then what do we find in these undeniably and admittedly genuine letters, written a quarter of a century after the supposed fact? We find in all of them reference to it-the distinct allegation of it. We find in one of them that the Apostle states it as being the substance of his preaching and of his brethren’s preaching, that ‘Christ died and rose again according to the Scriptures,’ and that He was seen by individuals, by multitudes, by a whole five hundred, the greater portion of whom were living and available as witnesses when he wrote. And we find that side by side with this statement, there is the reference to his own vision of the risen Saviour, which carries us up within ten years of the alleged fact. So, then, by the evidence of admittedly genuine documents, which are dealing with a state of things ten years after the supposed resurrection, there was a unanimous concurrence of belief on the part of the whole primitive Church, so that even the heretics who said that there was no resurrection of the dead could be argued with on the ground of their belief in Christ’s Resurrection. The whole Church with one voice asserted it. And there were hundreds of living men ready to attest it. It was not a handful of women who fancied they had seen Him once, very early in the dim twilight of a spring morning-but it was half a thousand that had beheld Him. He had been seen by them not once, but often; not far off, but close at hand; not in one place, but in Galilee and Jerusalem; not under one set of circumstances, but at all hours of the day, abroad and in the house, walking and sitting, speaking and eating, by them singly and in numbers. He had not been seen only by excited expectants of His appearance, but by incredulous eyes and surprised hearts, who doubted ere they worshipped, and paused before they said, ‘My Lord and my God!’ They neither hoped that He would rise, nor believed that He had risen; and the world may be thankful that they were ‘slow of heart to believe.’ Would not the testimony which can be alleged for Christ’s Resurrection be enough to guarantee any event but this? And if so, why is it not enough to guarantee this too? If, as nobody denies, the Early Church, within ten years of Christ’s Resurrection, believed in His Resurrection, and were ready to go, and did, many of them, go to the death in assertion of their veracity in declaring it, then one of two things-Either they were right or they were wrong; and if the latter, one of two things-If the Resurrection be not a fact,

then that belief was either a delusion or a deceit. It was not a delusion, for such an illusion is altogether unexampled; and it is absurd to think of it as being shared by a multitude like the Early Church. Nations have said, ‘Our King is not dead-he is gone away and he will come back.’ Loving disciples have said, ‘Our Teacher lives in solitude and will return to us.’ But this is no parallel to these. This is not a fond imagination giving an apparent substance to its own creation, but sense recognising first the fact, ‘He is dead,’ and then, in opposition to expectation, and when hope had sickened to despair, recognising the astounding fact, ‘He liveth that was dead’; and to suppose that that should have been the rooted conviction of hundreds of men who were not idiots, finds no parallel in the history of human illusions, and no analogy in such legends as those to which I have referred. It was not a myth, for a myth does not grow in ten years. And there was no motive to frame one, if Christ was dead and all was over. It was not a deceit, for the character of the men, and the character of the associated morality, and the obvious absence of all self-interest, and the persecutions and sorrows which they endured, make it inconceivable that the fairest building that ever hath been reared in the world, and which is cemented by men’s blood, should be built upon the mud and slime of a conscious deceit! And all this we are asked to put aside at the bidding of a glaring begging of the whole question, and an outrageous assertion which no man that believes in a God at all can logically maintain, viz. that no testimony can reach to the miraculous, or that miracles are impossible. No testimony reach to the miraculous! Well, put it into a concrete form. Can testimony not reach to this: ‘I know, because I saw, that a man was dead; I know, because I saw, a dead man live again’? If testimony can do that, I think we may safely leave the verbal sophism that it cannot reach to the miraculous to take care of itself. And, then, with regard to the other assumption-miracle is impossible. That is an illogical begging of the whole question in dispute. It cannot avail to brush aside testimony. You cannot smother facts by theories in that fashion. Again, one would like to know how it comes that our modern men of science, who protest so much against science being corrupted by metaphysics, should commit themselves to an assertion like that? Surely that is stark, staring metaphysics. It seems as if they thought that the ‘metaphysics’ which said that there was anything behind the physical universe was unscientific; but that the metaphysics which said that there was nothing behind physics was quite legitimate, and ought to be allowed to pass muster. What have the votaries of pure physical science, who hold the barren word-contests of theology and the proud pretensions of philosophy in such contempt, to do out-Heroding Herod in that fashion, and venturing on metaphysical assertions of such a sort? Let them keep to their own line, and tell us all that crucibles and scalpels can reveal, and we will listen as becomes us. But when they contradict their own principles in order to deny the possibility of miracle, we need only give them back their own words, and ask that the investigation of facts shall not be hampered and clogged with metaphysical prejudices. No! no! Christ made no mistake when He built His Church upon that rock-the historical evidence of a resurrection from the dead, though all the wise men of Areopagus hill may make its cliffs ring with mocking laughter when we say, upon Easter morning, ‘The Lord is risen indeed!’ III. There is a final consideration connected with these words, which I must deal with very briefly-the importance of the fact which is thus borne witness to. I have already pointed out that the Resurrection of Christ is viewed in Scripture in three

aspects: in its bearing upon His nature and work, as a pattern for our future, and as a symbol of our present newness of life. The importance to which I refer now applies only to that first aspect. With the Resurrection of Jesus Christ stands or falls the Divinity of Christ. As Paul said, in that letter to which I have referred, ‘Declared to be the Son of God, with power by the resurrection from the dead.’ As Peter said in the sermon that follows this one of our text, ‘God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ As Paul said, on Mars Hill, ‘He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.’ The case is this. Jesus lived as we know, and in the course of that life claimed to be the Son of God. He made such broad and strange assertions as these-’I and My Father are One.’ ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.’ ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.’ ‘He that believeth on Me shall never die.’ ‘The Son of Man must suffer many things, and the third day He shall rise again.’ Thus speaking He dies, and rises again and passes into the heavens. That is the last mightiest utterance of the same testimony, which spake from heaven at His baptism, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!’ If He be risen from the dead, then His loftiest claims are confirmed from the throne, and we can see in Him, the Son of God. But if death holds Him still, and ‘the Syrian stars look down upon His grave,’ as a modern poet tells us in his dainty English that they do, then what becomes of these words of His, and of our estimate of the character of Him, the speaker? Let us hear no more about the pure morality of Jesus Christ, and the beauty of His calm and lofty teaching, and the rest of it. Take away His resurrection from the dead, and we have left beautiful precepts, and fair wisdom, deformed with a monstrous selfassertion and the constant reiteration of claims which the event proves to have been baseless. Either He has risen from the dead or His words were blasphemy. Men nowadays talk very lightly of throwing aside the supernatural portions of the Gospel history, and retaining reverence for the great Teacher, the pure moralist of Nazareth. The Pharisees put the issue more coarsely and truly when they said, ‘That deceiver said, while He was yet alive, after three days I will rise again.’ Yes! one or the other. ‘Declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead,’ or-that which our lips refuse to say even as a hypothesis! Still further, with the Resurrection stands or falls Christ’s whole work for our redemption. If He died, like other men-if that awful bony hand has got its grip upon Him too, then we have no proof that the cross was anything but a martyr’s cross. His Resurrection is the proof of His completed work of redemption. It is the proof-followed as it is by His Ascension-that His death was not the tribute which for Himself He had to pay, but the ransom for us. His Resurrection is the condition of His present activity. If He has not risen, He has not put away sin; and if He has not put it away by the sacrifice of Himself, none has, and it remains. We come back to the old dreary alternative: ‘if Christ be not risen, your faith is vain, and our preaching is vain. Ye are yet in your sins, and they which have fallen asleep in Christ’ with unfulfilled hopes fixed upon a baseless vision-they of whom we hoped, through our tears, that they live with Him-they ‘are perished.’ For, if He be not risen, there is no resurrection; and, if He be not risen, there is no forgiveness; and, if He be not risen, there is no Son of God; and the world is desolate, and the heaven is empty, and the grave is dark, and sin abides, and death is eternal. If Christ be dead, then that awful vision is true, ‘As I looked up into the immeasurable heavens for the Divine Eye, it froze me with an empty, bottomless eyesocket.’ There is nothing between us and darkness, despair, death, but that ancient message, ‘I

declare unto you the Gospel which I preach, by which ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was raised the third day according to the Scriptures.’ Well, then, may we take up the ancient glad salutation, ‘The Lord is risen!’ and, turning from these thoughts of the disaster and despair that that awful supposition drags after it, fall back upon sober certainty, and with the Apostle break forth in triumph, ‘Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept’!

22beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."

1. Barnes, “Beginning from the baptism of John - The words “beginning from” in the original refer to the Lord Jesus. The meaning may be thus expressed, “during all the time in which the Lord Jesus, beginning (his ministry) at the time when he was baptized by John, went in and out among us, until the time when he was taken up,” etc. From those who had during that time been the constant companions of the Lord Jesus must one be taken, who would thus be a witness of his whole ministry. Must one be ordained - It is fit or proper that one should be ordained. The reason of this was, that Jesus had originally chosen the number twelve for this work, and as one of them had fallen, it was proper that the vacancy should be filled by some person equally qualified for the office. The reason why it was proper that he should be taken from the seventy disciples was, that they had been particularly distinguished by Jesus himself, and had been witnesses of most of his public life, Luke 10:1-16. The word “ordained” with us has a fixed and definite signification. It means to set apart to a sacred office with proper forms and solemnities, commonly by the imposition of hands. But this is not, of necessity, the meaning of this passage. The Greek word usually denoting “ordination” is not used here. The expression is literally, “must one be, or become, γενέσθαι genesthai, a witness with us of his resurrection.” The expression does not imply that he must be set apart in any particular manner, but simply that one should be designated or appointed for this specific purpose, to be a witness of the resurrection of Christ.

2. Clarke, “Beginning from the baptism of John - From the time that Christ was baptized by John in Jordan; for it was at that time that his public ministry properly began.

Must one be ordained - This translation misleads every reader who cannot examine the original text. There is no term for ordained in the Greek: γενεσθαι, to be, is the only word in the verse to which this interpretation can be applied. The New Testament printed at London, by Robert Barker, the king’s printer, in 1615, renders this and the preceding verse more faithfully and more clearly than our common version: Wherefore of these men who have companied with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus was conversant among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day he was taken up from us, must one of them Be Made a witness with us of his resurrection. The word ordained would naturally lead most readers to suppose that some ecclesiastical rite was used on the occasion, such as imposition of hands, etc., although nothing of the kind appears to have been employed.

3. Gill, “Beginning from the baptism of John,.... Not from the time trial John first
administered the ordinance of baptism; for Christ was not so soon made known, or had followers; but from the time of the administration of it by John, to Christ, when he was made known to Israel; and quickly upon this, he called his disciples, and entered on his public ministry: now Peter moves, that one who had been so early a follower of Christ, who had heard his excellent discourses, and seen his miracles, and who had steadfastly and constantly adhered to him, might be chosen in the room of Judas; one whose faith in Christ, love to him, and firmness of mind to abide by him, had been sufficiently tried and proved; who had continued with Christ and his apostles, from the beginning of his ministry, to that time: or as Peter adds, unto the same day that he was taken up from us; by angels, and received by a cloud, and carried up to heaven; or "he ascended from us", as the Ethiopic version renders it; or "lifted up himself from us", as the Arabic version; for as he raised himself from the dead by his own power, by the same he could raise himself up from earth to heaven; the sense is, to the time of his ascension to heaven, whether by himself, or by the ministry of angels: must one be ordained; there was a necessity of this, partly on the account of the above prophecy, and partly to keep up the number of the twelve apostles, Christ had thought fit to pitch upon; answering to the twelve tribes of Israel, and to the twelve gates, and twelve foundations of the new Jerusalem: and this choice or ordination was moved to be made, and was made, not by the other eleven apostles, but by the whole company of an hundred and twenty; for these are the persons addressed by the apostle, and to whom he said, as the Arabic version renders it, "one of these men ye must choose": and if the choice and ordination of such an extraordinary officer was made by the whole community, then much more ought the choice and ordination of inferior officers be by them: the end of this choice was, to be a witness with us of his resurrection; the resurrection of Christ from the dead, which supposes his incarnation and life, and so his obedience, ministry, and miracles in it; and also his sufferings and death, with all the benefits and advantages thereof; and is particularly mentioned, because it not only supposes and includes the above things, but is the principal article, basis, and foundation of the Christian religion; and the sign which Christ gave to the Jews, of the truth of his being the Messiah; and was what the disciples were chosen to be witnesses of; and a principal part of their ministry was to testify it to men: and since this was their work and business, it was

necessary that one should be chosen, and joined with them, who had been with them, and with Jesus, from the beginning, to the time of his ascension; and who was an eyewitness of his resurrection, that he might join with the apostles in their testimony.

4. Henry, “ 5. Jamison, “Beginning from the baptism of John — by whom our Lord was not
only Himself baptized, but first officially announced and introduced to his own disciples. unto that same day when he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection — How clearly is the primary office of the apostles here expressed: (1) to testify, from personal observation, to the one great fact of “the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”; (2) to show how this glorified His whole previous life, of which they were constant observers, and established His divine claims.

6. RWP, “Beginning (arxamenos). Aorist middle participle of archō, agreeing
(nominative) with ho kurios Iēsous (the Lord Jesus). The ministry of Jesus began with the ministry of John. Strictly speaking arxamenos should be the accusative and agree with

martura (witness) in Act_1:22, but the construction is a bit free. The ministry of Jesus
began with the baptism of John and lasted until the Ascension. A witness with us of his resurrection (martura tēs anastaseōs autou sun hēmin). This Peter considers the essential thing in a successor to Judas. The one chosen should be a personal witness who can speak from his own experience of the ministry, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus. One can easily see that this qualification will soon put an end to those who bear such personal testimony.

23So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.

1. Barnes, “And they appointed two - They proposed, or, as we should say, nominated two. Literally, they placed two, or made them to stand forth, as persons do who are candidates for office. These two were probably-more distinguished by prudence, wisdom, piety, and age than the others, and they were so nearly equal in qualifications

that they could not determine which was the best suited for the office. Joseph called Barsabas ... - It is not certainly known what the name Barsabas denotes. The Syriac word “Bar” means “son,” and the word “Sabas” has been translated “an oath, rest, quiet, or captivity.” Why the name was given to Joseph is not known but probably it was the family name - Joseph son of Sabas. Some have conjectured that this was the same man who, in Act_4:36, is called Barnabas. But of this there is no proof. Lightfoot supposes that he was the son of Alpheus and brother of James the Less, and that he was chosen on account of his relationship to the family of the Lord Jesus. Was surnamed Justus - Who was called Justus. This is a Latin name, meaning just, and was probably given him on account of his distinguished integrity. It was not uncommon among the Jews for a man to have several names, Mat_10:3. And Matthias - Nothing is known of the family of this man, or of his character, further than that he was numbered with the apostles, and shared their lot in the toils, the persecutions, and the honors of preaching the gospel to mankind.

2. Clarke, “They appointed two - These two were probably of the number of the seventy disciples; and, in this respect, well fitted to fill up the place. It is likely that the disciples themselves were divided in opinion which of these two was the most proper person, and therefore laid the matter before God, that he might decide it by the lot. No more than two candidates were presented; probably because the attention of the brethren had been drawn to those two alone, as having been most intimately acquainted with our Lord, or in being better qualified for the work than any of the rest; but they knew not which to prefer. Joseph called Barsabas - Some MSS. read Joses Barnabas, making him the same with Joses Barnabas, Act_4:36. But the person here is distinguished from the person there, by being called Justus. 3. Gill, “And they appointed two,.... The motion made by Peter was attended to by
the whole company; they approved of it, and accordingly proposed two persons by name; one of which was to be chosen, not by the apostles, but by the whole assembly. The Arabic version reads, "he appointed two", as if Peter singly did this: contrary to all copies, and other versions, and to the context; which shows, that the whole body of the people were concerned in this affair, who prayed and gave forth their lots and suffrages: the persons nominated were, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. The former of these has three names; in one ancient copy of Beza's he is called Joses; and by some thought to be the same with Joses, surnamed Barnabas, in Act_4:36 partly because in one copy, and in the Syriac version there, that Joses is called Joseph; and partly, because of the nearness in sound between Barsabas and Barnabas: hence the Ethiopic version here reads, "Joseph, who was called Barnabas", and so Beza's most ancient copy; but though Joses is here meant for Jose, or Joses is, with the Jews, an abbreviation of Joseph; yet not Joses the Levite, who was of the country of Cyprus, but Joses of Galilee, the son of Alphaeus and Mary; and who had two brothers, James and Jude, already apostles; see Mat_13:55. Moreover, though the two names, Barnabas and Barsabas, differ little in sound, yet much in sense: the former is interpreted "the son of consolation", Act_4:36 but the latter signifies much the same with Bathsheba; as that may be interpreted "the daughter", this "the son of an oath"; or as others, "a son of

wisdom"; and by others, "the son of fulness"; I should choose to take it to be the same name with ‫בר סבא‬, and interpret it, "the son of an old man"; as Alphaeus might be, when Joses, or Joseph was born, and he be the younger brother of James and Jude; as for his surname Justus, this was a name not only in use among the Grecians and Romans, especially the latter, but among the Jews: hence we often read of Rabbi ‫יוסטא‬, "Justa", and sometimes, ‫יוסטי‬, "Justi", and at other times, ‫" יוסטאי‬Justai" (x) whether he had this surname from his being a very just man, as Aristides was called Aristides the just; and so Simeon the high priest, the last of Ezra's great synagogue, was called Simeon the just (y); and so James the brother of this Joseph, or Joses, was called by the Jews (z); and it may be, that he himself might have his name from the patriarch Joseph, who used to be called by them, Joseph, ‫הצדיק‬, "the just" (a): for Matthias, his name is Jewish, and he was no doubt a Jew; hence we read ‫רבי מתיא‬, "Rabbi Matthia ben Charash" (b); his name signifying the same as Nathanael does, namely, the gift of God, made Dr. Lightfoot conjecture they might be the same; but this agrees not with another conjecture that learned man, who elsewhere thinks, that Bartholomew and Nathanael were the same; and if so, he must have been an apostle already; Clemens of Alexandria was of opinion, that this Matthias was Zacchaeus (c),

4. Henry, “he nomination of the person that was to succeed Judas in his office as an apostle. 1. Two, who were known to have been Christ's constant attendants, and men of great integrity, were set up as candidates for the place (Act_1:23): They appointed two; not the eleven, they did not take upon them to determine who should be put up, but the hundred and twenty, for to them Peter spoke, and not to the eleven. The two they nominated were Joseph and Matthias, of neither of whom do we read elsewhere, except this Joseph be the same with that Jesus who is called Justus, of whom Paul speaks (Col_ 4:11), and who is said to be of the circumcision, a native Jew, as this was, and who was a fellow-worker with Paul in the kingdom of God and a comfort to him; and then it is observable that, though he came short of being an apostle, he did not therefore quit the ministry, but was very useful in a lower station; for, Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Some think this Joseph is he that is called Joses (Mar_6:3), the brother of James the less (Mar_15:40), and was called Joses the just, as he was called James the just. Some confound this with that Joses mentioned Act_4:36. But that was of Cyprus, this of Galilee; and, it should seem, to distinguish them, that was called Barnabas - a son of consolation; this Barsabas - a son of the oath. These two were both of them such worthy men, and so well qualified for the office, that they could not tell which of them was the fitter, but all agreed it must be one of these two. They did not propose themselves nor strive for the place, but humbly sat still, and were appointed to it. 5. Jamison, “they appointed — “put up” in nomination; meaning not the Eleven but the whole company, of whom Peter was the spokesman. two — The choice would lie between a very few.

6. BI, “And they appointed two.
An election sermon This, the earliest, stands remarkably distinguished from the episcopal elections of after ages. Every one acquainted with history knows that the election of a bishop was one of the fiercest questions which shook the Church of Christ. Appointment by the people. Presbyters. Various customs. Anecdote of Ambrose of Milan. Appointment by the Emperor or Bishop of Rome. Quarrel of ages between the Emperor and the Pope. Consider— I. The object of the election. To elect a bishop of the universal Church. It might be that in process of time the apostle should be appointed to a particular city—as St. James was to Jerusalem. But his duty was owed to the Church in general, and not to that particular city; and if he had allowed local interests to stand before the interests of the whole, he would have neglected the duty of his high office, and if those who appointed him considered the interest of Jerusalem instead of the Church universal, they would have failed in their duty. In the third century Cyprian stated this principle: “The Episcopate, one and indivisible, held in its entirety by each bishop, every part standing for the whole.” The political application is plain. Each legislator legislates for the country, not for a county or town. Each elector holds his franchise as a sacred trust, to be exercised not for his town, or faction, or himself, or his friends, but for the general weal of the people of England. We are not to be biassed by asking what charity does a candidate support, nor by his view of some local question, nor by his support of Tractarian or Evangelical societies. We are, in our high responsibility, selecting, not a president for a religious society, nor a patron of a town, nor a subscriber to an hospital, but a legislator for England. II. The mode of the election. It was partly human, partly Divine. The human element is plain enough in that it was popular. The Divine element lay in this that it was overruled by God. The selected one might be the chosen of the people, yet not the chosen of God. Hence they prayed, “Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men,” etc. The common notion is, vox populi vox—i.e., a law is right because it is a people’s will. We have not quite gone to this length in England. On the Continent it has long been prevalent. Possibly it is the expression of that Antichrist “who showeth himself that he is God”; self-will setting itself up paramount to the will of God. The vox populi is sometimes vox, sometimes not. It was so when the people rescued Jonathan from his father’s unjust sentence: and when, after the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, they cried, “The Lord He is God.” But not when, in Moses’ absence, they required Aaron to make them a golden calf for a god. Or when they shouted, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” or “Crucify Him!” Politicians eagerly debate the question, how best to secure a fair representation of the people’s voice—a question not to be put aside. But the Christian sets a question deeper far than this—how the popular will shall truly represent the will of God. And we shall attain this, not by nicely balancing interest against interest, much less by manoeuvring to defeat the opposite cause; but by each doing all he can to rouse himself and others to a high sense of responsibility. It is a noble thought, that of every elector going to vote, as these men did, for the Church, for the people, for God, and for the right, earnestly anxious that he and others should do right. Else this was an appeal to chance and not to God; and every election, by ballot or by suffrage, is else an appeal to chance.

III. The spirit. 1. A religious spirit. “They prayed,” etc. Now, we shall be met here by an objection. This was a religious work—the selection of an apostle; but the choice of a representative is only a secular one. But it is not the occupation, but the spirit which makes the difference. The election of a bishop may be most secular; the election of a representative may be religious. St. Paul taught that nothing is profane. Sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, St. Peter learned that nothing is common or unclean. Many relics remain to us from our religious forefathers indicative of this truth. Grace before meals. Dei gratia on coins of the realm; “In the name of God,” at the commencement of wills; oaths in court of justice—all proclaim that the simplest acts of our domestic and political life are sacred or profane according to the spirit in which they are performed; not in the question whether they are done for the State or the Church, but whether with God or without God. Observe: It is not the preluding such an election with public prayer that would make it a religious act. It is religious so far as each man discharges his part as a duty and solemn responsibility. If looked on in this spirit would the debauchery, which is fostered by rich men of all parties among the poor for their own purposes, be possible? Would they, for the sake of one vote, or a hundred votes, brutalise their fellow creatures? 2. It was done conscientiously. Each Christian found himself in possession of a new right—that of giving a vote or casting a lot. Like all rights, it was a duty. He had not a right to do what he liked, only to do right. And if any one had swayed him to support the cause of Barsabas or that of Matthias on any motives except this one—“You ought”—he had so far injured his conscience. The worst of crimes is to injure a human conscience. Now bribery is a sin. Not because a particular law has been made against it, but because it lowers the sense of personal responsibility. And whether you do directly by giving, indirectly by withdrawing, assistance, or patronage—you sin against Christ. 3. It was not done from personal interest. If the supporters of the two candidates had been influenced by such considerations as bloodrelationship, or the chance of favour and promotion, a high function would have been degraded. In secular matters, however, we do not judge so. A man generally decides according to his professional or his personal interests. You know almost to a certainty beforehand which way a man will vote, if you know his profession. Partly no doubt, this is involuntarily—the result of those prejudices which attach to us all from association. But it is partly voluntary. We know that we are thinking not of the general good, but of our own interests. And thus a farmer would think himself justified in looking at a question simply as it affected his class, and a noble as it affected his caste, and a working man as it bore upon the working classes. Brethren, we are Christians. Something of a principle higher than this ought to be ours. What is the law of the Cross of Christ? The sacrifice of the One for the whole, the cheerful surrender of the few for the many. Else, what do we more than others? These are fine words—patriotism, public principle, purity. Be sure these words are but sentimental expressions, except as they spring out of the Cross of Christ. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

The election of Matthias Let us pause a little to meditate upon an objection which might have been here raised. Why fill up what Christ Himself left vacant? some short-sighted objector might have urged; and yet we see good reason why Christ may have omitted to supply the place of Judas, and may have designed that the apostles themselves should have done so. Our Lord Jesus Christ gifted His apostles with corporate power; He bestowed upon them authority to act in His stead and name; and it is not God’s way of action to grant power

and authority, and then to allow it to remain unexercised and undeveloped. When God confers any gift He expects that it shall be used for His honour and man’s benefit. The Lord thus wished to teach the Church from earliest days to walk alone. The apostles had been long enough depending on His personal presence and guidance, and now, that they might learn to exercise the privileges and duties of their Divine freedom, He leaves them to choose one to fill that position of supernatural rank and office from which Judas had fallen. The risen Saviour acted in grace as God ever acts in nature. He bestowed His gifts lavishly and generously, and then expected man to respond to the gifts by making that good use of them which earnest prayer, sanctified reason, and Christian common-sense dictated. (G. T. Stokes, M. A.)

Readiness and preparedness The Church, like a line of soldiers in action, must have no vacant places; each gap in the line must be made good. The unfilled post is a point of weakness in the system and the work, and the enemy against whom we strive is not slow to take advantage. The weak place is soon detected, and the gap in the line will soon be still further enlarged. A rent unmended rapidly grows greater. The apostles felt this. So at once they proceed to fill the vacant place. Two thoughts meet us here. If a place has to be filled, two requirements must be satisfied. First, we must have one prepared, one fit to fill the position; secondly, we must have one ready and willing to take up the work. Matthias was a disciple of experience. He was not a recent convert, no novice. Hitherto, we may conclude, he had filled no official position. But by attendance on the Lord’s ministry he had been preparing himself to take up the work when a call should come. He was probably quite unconscious as to when or how it would come; but as a Christian, as a soldier of Christ, as a servant of his Master, he was always liable. The summons, “I have need of thee,” might come at any moment. Would the summons find him fitted to obey it? He had “companied”—come along together—“with them.” He had listened to Christ’s teaching, watched Christ live and work; he could speak from experience. Is there not here a lesson for all? We do not know when Christ may need us; we do not know exactly how He may wish that we should be employed. But the summons may come. When it comes, in what state will it find us? Shall we know from experience anything of what a Christian life really is? A knowledge of Christian truth and Christian life is indispensable for Church workers. They must be prepared. And as a modern writer has said, “preparation is not preparedness,” but it is the secret of it, the means whereby it is obtained. Preparation, constant, ever going on, is the way to be prepared. But the worker, besides being prepared, must be also ready, that is, willing to obey the call when it comes. How often has a clergyman to lament the sorrowful fact that those who might be of the greatest service are sometimes the least willing to take up work. Yet to whom “much is given, of him shall be much required.” According to our means, abilities, opportunities, shall we be judged. Notice the example of Matthias and Joseph. There is not a word Of hesitation or excuse. They knew not upon which the lot might fall, but either was willing and ready; it was sufficient that the call had come, they must not dream of disobedience. They did not know what might lie before them-danger, toil, persecution, in all probability a martyr’s death. But there is no shrinking, no attempt to excuse themselves or find reasons why they should not take office. It has been of the nature of a national boast that Englishmen sought rather than shunned the point of danger, the life of active service and toil. How often have we read of the soldier chafing under the circumstances which cast his lot in the reserve rather than in the midst of the action which was progressing at the front! Should there not be a like spirit exhibited by the soldiers of the Cross? The life

of action and the life of danger is surely in some measure the life of honour. (W. E. Chadwick, M. A.)

Ministers should be picked men It is said of the Egyptians that they chose their priests from the most learned of their philosophers, and then they esteemed their priests so highly that they chose their kings from them. We require to have for God’s ministers the pick of all the Christian host; such men, indeed, that if the nation wanted kings they could not do better than elevate them to the throne. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

God knows the heart When Samuel Wilberforce, afterwards Bishop, went to his first charge, some of the parishioners complained that the bishop had seat them a boy. They condemned him before he spoke because of his looks. But after they had heard his first sermon they withdrew their first statement, and said, “We find he is a man.” This illustrates the way in which too often we judge men, but we must remember that although man looketh on the outward appearance the Lord looketh on the heart. Workers indicated by God

“One night, a week before we got to Colombo, Mr. Millard and I were praying to God for special guidance in Ceylon, and I said to him, ‘The Lord has told me to bring on from Ceylon Mr. Campbell, Mr. Horan, Mr. Jackson, and David.’ ‘Well,’ said he, ‘if you bring on any one, these are the four names.’ So day by day we prayed, ‘Oh, Lord, is it Thy will that we should bring them on?” We had a fortnight in Ceylon, and we spent the greater part of it in prayer to be perfectly certain of God’s will. We were staying at a house a little distance out of Colombo that a friend very kindly put at our disposal, and there we gathered to wait on God in prayer. One day Mr. Millard and Mr. Campbell were there praying. They said nothing to me about it. They prayed, ‘Now, Lord, we will put Thee to the test: wilt Thou send up into this room those who are to go to Australia, and only those?’ They waited. The door opened, and Mr. Jackson went in and knelt with the other two. Mr. Horan was at his tea, but somehow he thought to himself, ‘I must go up’; so he left his tea and went upstairs, and went into the room and knelt down with the others. I also was downstairs, and said to myself, ‘I will go up and have a little prayer.’ I went into the room and found these friends there before me. But where was David? Was he to come or not? He was, at the time, in Colombo, five miles away. He knew nothing about the prayer in the upper room. As David was walking along the street of Colombo he lifted up his heart to God and said, ‘Where am I to go now, and what am I to do?’ The Lord told him to take a carriage and drive out to Dellagama House at once. David got into a conveyance and drove out. He appeared with his black face all shining with glory. Now we were certain that David was to go with us to Australia. So we sailed, and arrived at Melbourne. (G. C. Grubb.)

The beginning of ecclesiastical business

1. The requisite qualifications of apostleship were discerned in two members of the company. The claims of the two were probably equally balanced and superior to those of the rest. 2. The whole matter was referred to the Head of the Church in prayer. 3. They prayed Him to settle for them what they could not settle for themselves. No choice of theirs could make a man an apostle. 4. They looked for the expression of the Divine decision in the best way known to them. The lot had been sanctioned by God under the Old Dispensation; but it is significant that no more is heard of it. The unction of the Holy One rendered it unnecessary. 5. The decision asked for was cordially accepted. This beginning of ecclesiastical business presents to us— I. Right-minded people not yet filled with the Holy Spirit. The truth had had its effect upon them, but like many now they were only in a course of preparation for the fulness of Divine knowledge. Such now should do the will of God as they know it as these did, and seek the promised blessing in prayer. II. Right-minded people, though not yet filled with the Spirit, yet directed by their confidence in Christ. They believed that He, the Searcher of hearts, was surveying them; that prayer to Him would be answered; that they had a work to do for which He must fit them; and though one had fallen another would be found for his place. So now there are servants of Christ who, though not assured of sonship, are yet on the road to assurance. Let such maintain their confidence in Christ, and they will reach the goal as the disciples did. III. The apostolic staff completed in proper time. The proper time was during the ten days. The disciples were expectant, but their confidence was increased when they felt that they had done their duty. Seamen are the more hopeful when the breeze strikes on the spread canvas, and physicians when they have used all the resources of their science. So congregations should be ready for what God waits to give, by a full cordial acceptance of His will. (W. Hudson.)

The holy choice They begin with prayer; this was the usual manner in the Church of God (Num_27:16; Joh_17:17; Act_6:6). It is not fit he that is chosen for God should be chosen without God. But for this, Samuel himself may be mistaken and choose even wrong, before he hit upon the right. This prayer respects two things: I. The person is described— 1. By His omnipotence. “Lord”— (1) Of what? Not Lord of such a county, barony, seigniory; nor Lord by virtue of office, but most absolute. His lordship is universal: Lord of heaven, the owner of those glorious mansions; Lord of earth, disposer of all kingdoms and principalities; Lord of hell, to lock up the old dragon and his crew in the bottomless pit; Lord of death, to unlock the graves. (2) To the Lord of all they commend the choice of His own servants. Every mortal lord hath this power, how much more that Lord which makes lords! Who so fit to choose as He that can choose the fit? Who so fit to choose as He that can make those fit whom He doth choose? It is He alone that can give power and grace to the elected, therefore not to be left out in the election. It is happy when we do remit all doubts to His decision, and resign ourselves to His disposition. We must not be our own carvers, but let God’s choice

be ours. When we know His pleasure, let us show our obedience. 2. Omniscience: it is God’s peculiar to be the searcher of the heart. But why the heart? Here was an apostle to be chosen: now wisdom, learning, eloquence, might seem to be more necessary qualities. No, they are all nothing to an honest heart. I deny not but learning to divide the word, elocution to pronounce it, wisdom to discern the truth, boldness to deliver it, be all parts requirable in a preacher. But as if all these were scarce worth mention in respect of the heart, they say not, which is the greater scholar, but which is the better man (1Sa_16:7). (1) Why do they not say, Thou that knowest the estates of men, who is rich, and fit to support a high place, and who so poor that the place must support him? Because, at the beam of the sanctuary, money makes not the man, although it often adds some metal to the man; makes his justice the bolder, and in less hazard of being vitiated. But if the poor man have “wisdom to deliver the city” (Ecc_9:15), he is worthy to govern the city. I yield that something is due to the state of authority. But wise government, not rich garment, shows an able man. (2) Why do they not say, Thou that knowest the birth or blood of men? I know it is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or palace not in decay, or a fair tree sound and perfect timber. But as foul birds build their nests in an old forsaken house, and doted trees are good for nothing but the fire; so the decay of virtue is the ruin of nobility. To speak morally, active worth is better than passive: this last we have from our ancestors, the first from ourselves. Let me rather see one virtue in a man alive, than all the rest in his pedigree dead. It is not the birth, but the new birth that makes men truly noble. (3) Why do they not say, Thou that knowest the wisdom and policy of men? Certainly, this is requisite to a man of place. But a man may be wise for himself, not for God, not for the public good. A cunning head without an honest heart is but like a house with many convenient stairs, entries, and other passages, but never a fair room. II. The matter entreated. “Show whom Thou hast chosen.” 1. What kind of hearts God will not choose. (1) A distracted heart; part whereof is dedicated to the Lord, and part to the world. He that made all will not be contented with a piece. Aut Caesar, aut nihil. Many divisions followed sin. (a) It divided heart from God (Isa_59:2). (b) It divided heart from heart. God by marriage made one of two, sin doth often make two of one. (c) It divided the tongue from the heart. So Cain answered God, when He questioned him about Abel. (d) It divided tongue from tongue at the building of Babel. (e) It divided the heart from itself (Psa_12:2): one for the Church, another for the change; one for Sundays, another for working days. (2) A stony heart. A rock, which all the floods of God’s mercies and judgments cannot soften; a stithy, that is still the harder for beating. It hath all the properties of a stone: it is as cold, heavy, hard, and senseless as a stone. Were it of iron it might be wrought; were it of lead, it might be molten, and cast into some better form; were it of earth, it might be tempered to another fashion; but being stone, nothing remains but that it be broken. What was Pharaoh’s greatest plague? His hard heart. He that knows all hearts, knows how ill this would be in a magistrate or minister; a heart which no cries of orphans, no tears of widows, no mourning of the oppressed, can melt into pity.

(3) A covetous heart, the desires whereof are never filled. A handful of corn put to the whole heap increaseth it; yea, add ,water to the sea, it hath so much the more; but “he that loveth silver shall never be satisfied with silver.” This vice is in all men iniquity, but in a minister or magistrate blasphemy; the root of all evil in every man, the rot of all goodness in a great man. 2. What kind of hearts God will choose. (1) A wise heart (1Ki_2:9). There is no trade but a peculiar wisdom belongs to it, without which all is tedious and unprofitable; how much more to the highest and busiest vocation. (2) A meek heart. The first governor that God set over His Israel was Moses, a man of the meekest spirit. How is he fit to govern others, that hath not learned to govern himself? He that cannot rule a boat upon the river is not to be trusted with steering a vessel on the ocean. Nor yet must this parience degenerate into cowardliness: Moses, that was so meek in his own cause, in God’s cause was as resolute. So there is also— (3) A heart of fortitude and courage. The rules and squares that regulate others are not made of lead or soft wood, such as will bend or bow. The principal columns of a house had not need be heart of oak, The spirit that resolves to do the will of heaven, what malignant powers soever would cross it on earth, is the heart that God chooseth. (4) An honest heart. Without this, courage will prove but legal injustice, policy but mere subtlety, and ability but the devil’s anvil to forge mischiefs on. Private men have many curbs, but men in authority, if they fear not God, have nothing else to fear. If he be a simple dastard, he fears all men; if a headstrong commander, he fears no man: like that unjust judge (Luk_18:2). 3. Why God will choose men by the heart. Because— (1) The heart is the primum mobile that sets all the wheels agoing, and improves them to the right end. When God begins to make a man good, He begins at the heart. And as naturally the heart is first in being, so here the will (which is meant by the heart) is chief in commanding. If it say to the eye, See, it seeth; to the ear, Hear, it hearkeneth, etc. If the heart lead the way to God, not a member of the body, not a faculty of the soul, will stay behind. (2) No part of man can sin without the heart; the heart can sin without all the rest. The heart is like a mill: if the wind or water be violent, the mill will go whether the miller will or not; yet he may chose what kind of grain it shall grind, wheat or darnel. (3) The heart is what God specially cares for: “My son, give Me thy heart”; and good reason, for I gave My own Son’s heart to death for it. It is not less thine for being Mine; yea, it cannot be thine comfortably unless it be Mine perfectly. God requires it principally, but not only; give Him that, and all the rest will follow. He that gives me fire needs not be requested for light and heat, for they are inseparable. (4) All outward works a hypocrite may do, only he fails in the heart; and because he fails there, he is lost everywhere. Who will put that timber into the building of his house which is rotten at the heart? Man judgeth the heart by the works; God judgeth the works by the heart. Therefore God will excuse all necessary defects, but only of the heart. The blind man cannot serve God with his eyes, he is excused; the deaf cannot serve God with his ears, he is excused, etc., but no man is excused for not serving God with his heart. (5) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Therefore David prays, “Create in me a clean heart.” The Lord rested from the works of His creation the seventh day; but so dearly He loves clean hearts, that He rests from creating them no day. As Jehu said to Jehonadab. “Is thy heart right? then give me thy hand, come up into my chariot”; so this is God’s question, Is thy heart upright? then give Me thy hand, ascend’

My triumphant chariot, the everlasting glory of heaven. Conclusion: Because there is such difference of hearts, and such need of a good one, they put it to Him that knows them all, and knows which is best of all. A little living stone in God’s building is worth a whole quarry of the world. One honest heart is better than a thousand other. Man often fails in his election; God cannot err. (T. Adams.)

Festival of St. Matthias We look back upon the career of Judas, who by transgression fell from “this ministry and apostleship”; and, secondly, see what is to be learnt from the election of Matthias. I. Judas has been described as “one of the standing moral problems of the gospel history.” He is not a lay figure, draped in the historical dress provided by the Psalter, a mythical personage. His portrait stands out from the canvas of the Gospels life-like, vivid, terrible. He is no creation of the imagination, no mere foil to bring out into stronger relief the transcendent virtues of the Christ; but a real man, who betrayed his Master, and then hung himself. He illustrates the possibilities of evil, and the doctrine that “the corruption of the best becomes the worst.” And first it must be remembered that Judas “fell.” He is sometimes depicted as though he had always had the heart of an alien; and when chosen by our Lord to be one of His apostles, was then a traitor in spirit. This is a mistake. When our Lord said, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He says “is a devil.” He does not say “was.” Judas Iscariot had a genuine vocation to the apostolate; that is, he had in him the makings of an apostle; otherwise, our Lord would not have chosen him. But vocations may be lost. Judas fell through yielding to temptation. Two sins mark the stages of his downward course—avarice and despair. It may be asserted, that however hardening may be the effect of this vice of avarice, when it has led to the committal of some heinous crime the benumbed conscience is often painfully and suddenly aroused from its state of torpor, and filled with dismay. The sinner is startled at the lengths which he has gone. Judas, doubtless, had tampered with the moral faculty, and persuaded himself that though he had betrayed his Master, Christ would, after all, escape from the hands of His enemies. His remorse, when he saw the effects of his treachery, bear witness, not to the absence of covetousness, but to the power of conscience, whose voice, though it may be for a time smothered, will assert itself in terrible tones at last. The disciple was not subjected to the trial without sufficient helps and cautions to enable him, had he willed, to vanquish his dominant passion, and to grow into the likeness of his Master. But a greater sin than covetousness followed—that of despair. The sins which are opposite to those great virtues, Faith, Hope, and Love, which have God for their Object, are sins of a deep dye. They are unbelief, despair, and hatred of God. Among these, despair is especially fraught with danger to us, because it takes away the hope “which recalls us from our sins and lead us to good.” Despair is a sin against Divine mercy, that attribute in the exercise of which God is said to “delight.” If Judas had sought for mercy, he would have found it. He had the semblance of repentance without its spirit. He had no hope; and, so in a frenzy of despair, he fled from the temple, and ended his life—in the strange and awful language, “that he might go to his own place.” II. We turn now to brighter thoughts. Our Lord chose twelve apostles. It seems to have been important that this number should be preserved. It has been called “emphatically the Church number.” It occurs again and again in Holy Scripture. There were twelve patriarchs, twelve altars, twelve precious stones in Aaron’s breastplate, twelve judges, twelve wells at Elim, twelve loaves of show-bread. In the Book of the Revelation there are

twelve stars round the head of the woman clothed with the sun, twelve foundations and gates of the heavenly Jerusalem. The first act of the apostles after the ascension of Christ is to fill up the gap in their number. Matthias was more than a successor of Judas; he was to take his place, to be invested with the dignity of an original apostle. But note how this vacancy was supplied. First, by united prayer—prayer, mark you, to Christ—they sought to know His choice, Who is the discerner of hearts; and then they cast lots; “and—the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” The Holy Spirit was not yet given, and thus they resorted to a method which had often been adopted for settling doubtful questions by different nations, that of casting lots, not as any precedent for the Church in the future; but as a means for discovering the mind of God in that interim between the missions of Divine persons, when they were left without a guide. Many are the lessons which may be drawn from our subject. Many are the warnings which it suggests. The excess of hope is presumption; its defect, despair. The history of Judas shows the peril of both. “Be not high-minded, but fear.” No office or position can insure us against falling. We see those who have had the highest privileges fall from God. Lucifer and the angels, Adam and Eve, David, Solomon, Peter, and Judas. Secondly, let us, on the other hand, never despair. There is no evil in the creature which the mercy of God cannot remedy—“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Despair is worse than covetousness: for “with the Lord there is mercy”; it has its home and origin in the Divine character, and “with Him is plenteous redemption.” (W. H. Hutchings, M. A.)

Judas by transgression fell that he might go to his own place.— Judas It seems very strange that Jesus, who knew the hearts of men, should have admitted as one of the twelve a thief, a devil, a traitor, one who had better never been born. Gifts of some kind he must have had, rendering the choice of him not strange to others, not unfit in itself. Was it that, though our Lord discerned the germs of evil in his character, He saw also germs of good, and hoped that, as a result of association with Himself, these might prevail? If we suppose so, new force is given to many of Christ’s sayings. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” What a truth for Judas, if he were vainly trying to follow both! The destructive power of “the cares of this world,” and “the deceitfulness of riches,” Judas heard of. He heard of the fate of the unfaithful steward, etc. If Jesus had this merciful desire, not least among the griefs of the Man of Sorrows must have been the deepening conviction that His efforts were in vain, and that He was but adding to the condemnation of one from whom “so much would be required,” as so much had been given. What a pang each evidence of this must have given to Jesus! e.g., the objection to the costly ointment with which Mary anointed the Lord. At last Jesus said, “One of you shall betray Me,” and Judas, “having received the sop, went immediately out.” It has been suggested that motives other than base actuated Judas, but these contradict the narrative and every probability. I. Considerations on the scripture doctrine of future penalties. Amidst much obscurity two things are clear: 1. That the consequences of evil will be felt after death; that what is sown here shall be reaped there, and that the “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” felt, and inflicted by God, will be of such a sort that the strongest and most dreadful images are not too strong or dreadful to express it. 2. That, whatever the reality, the Judge of all the earth will do only right; so that no

suspicion of injustice, or distress because of it, need or ought to have place in our minds. II. Each going to his own place. Whether the apostles had clearer knowledge about the fate of Judas than they here express, we know not. At least there is singular moderation and reverence in what they said. One might well have excused sterner language about the betrayer. Their refraining is a pattern to us all. But this statement fits every case as well as that of Judas. It is not a mere confession of ignorance, which says nothing. See how exactly true it is of the material world. The two are so mysteriously allied that, to an extraordinary degree, what is true of the one is true of the other; and it is most useful to study the one to gain hints about God’s government of the other. We should avoid many errors if we recognised this oftener. The position of each mass of matter is exactly determined by its quantity and condition in relation to the forces around and within it. No pebble, no star, can be in a place one hair’s breadth different from that to which it is guided by its peculiar character. Every difference of character involves a difference of position. The same is true of each of those millions of invisible atoms of which each atom is composed. The place each fills is not determined by chance or by caprice, but by its very nature. Is not that indication of a Divine order, allied to morality and justice? And so no mere caprice will determine the position of spiritual beings in the future world, but each will “go to his own place” there, by a law as true and an order as beautiful as that which regulates the position of each material particle. The true, the pure, the loving and unselfish, will they not tend necessarily towards Him who is truth, and purity, and love, as the nearest planets live in the radiance of the sun? The untrue, the impure, the selfish, will they not as necessarily be repelled from the Divine light by their very condition? So with every intermediate description of character. Conclusion: In view of these sublime laws of Divine order and fitness, what a pitiable and monstrous delusion is it that mere profession will avail; that to say to Christ, “Lord, Lord,” is enough; that to be duly baptized and buried by a priest is to be safe for ever. What we are, or by Christ’s help become, that is everything—not what we profess to be. So Christ and Judas went “each to his own place”; so you and I shall do also. (T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

The place for Judas, and for others like him A zealous partisan of the notion that there is no future punishment was telling his children the story of “The Babes in the Wood,” when a shrewd little boy looked up and asked, “What became of the little children?” “Oh, they went to heaven, of course!” was the prompt reply. “And what became of the horrid old uncle?” It was a poser; and for some moments the universalist looked confused. His favourite hobby must, however, be sustained at all costs, and he answered as composedly as he could, “Why, he went to heaven also!” “I am so sorry,” said the child, “for I am afraid the bad man will kill them again!” Here was logic in a nutshell, which no theories could overturn. President Nott had preached a sermon setting forth the everlasting punishment of the impenitent, when a man of the same class rudely said, “Well, sir, I have been to hear you preach, and now I want you to prove your doctrine.” “I thought I had proved it,” was the mild reply, “for I took the Bible for testimony.” “Well,” persisted the assailant, waxing valiant, “I do not find it in my Bible, and I do not believe it.” “What do you believe?” asked Dr. Nott, in a quiet and unconcerned tone. “Why, I believe that mankind will be judged according to the deeds done in the body, and those that deserve punishment will be sent to a place of punishment for awhile, and remain there until the debt is paid, when they will be taken out and carried to heaven.” “I have but a word to say in reply,” observed Dr. Nott, “and first, for what did Christ die? and lastly, there is a straight road to heaven; but if you are determined to go round through hell to get there, I cannot help it.” The man took his

leave, the wiser for the interview, and a more careful study of the Bible led him to adopt the orthodox belief. If any one were asked, “Where do you suppose Judas went after death?” could he, in his sober senses, answer, “To heaven?” The thing is utterly preposterous; and we are prepared to read in the text that he went to “his own place”—a place suited to one who had proved himself a child of the devil. Every student knows that the significant expression is used by ancient writers to denote going to one’s eternal destiny. Thus the Jewish Targum, in Num_24:25, where it is said of Balaam that he “went to his own place,” adds, that this “place” was Gehenna, the place of final torment. The Chaldee paraphrase of Ecc_6:6 declares, “Although the days of a man’s life were two thousand years, and he did not study the Law, and do justice, in the day of his death his soul shall descend to hell, to the one place where all sinners go.” St. Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Mag-nesians, wrote, “Because all things have an end, the two things death and life shall lie down together, and each one shall go to his own place.” Without referring, then, to many passages of Holy Scripture, the brief allusion to the doom of Judas is enough to settle the question. Hell is not a mere arbitrary appointment of the Almighty, but as the polluted would not be fitted for heaven, and could not enjoy it, there must, of necessity, be some place adapted to their condition, and God teaches us that hell is that place. The guilty and impenitent accordingly will have no ground of complaint if a just God appoints for him precisely such a place as his own conduct in life has prepared him for. An eloquent speaker was attempting to show, from garbled passages of Scripture, that the gospel is peace and good-will, and not terror nor hell fire, when a young man rose and said: “Did Paul preach the gospel before Felix?” “Yes.” “And did Felix tremble?” “He did.” The young man took his hat, bowed politely, and retired, the rest of the people going out with him. The simplest-minded present could not but understand that the gospel which the apostle preached must have had some reference to future punishment, or the wicked and the haughty Felix would hardly have thus lost his self-command. It is useless to attempt to obviate the necessity for future punishment by insisting that we suffer for our sins in this life. There are such cases, it is true, but they are the excerption, and not the rule. What, then, becomes of the rest? The pirate Gibbs, whose name, for so many years, was a terror to those who sailed among the West Indies, when tried and condemned, confessed that the first few murders did occasion him some twinges of conscience, but that in course of time he could cut the throats of a whole ship’s crew, and then eat his supper and lie down and sleep as quietly as a babe! It seems from this that if remorse in this life is God’s way of punishing crimes, then the more horrible deeds that bad people commit the less He punishes them! If one act of sin, as in the case of Eve, Uzziah, Miriam, Nadab and Abihu, and thousands more, draw down the wrath of God, what must a whole life of sin! Think of the destruction of the cities of the plain, and then call to mind the Saviour’s words, “It shall be more tolerable,” etc. Wicked people need no “sending to hell,” since they go there of their own accord. The gulf which divides heaven from hell is one of moral unlikeness, and as people have sought the company that suited them here, so they will find themselves in congenial society hereafter. The sinner makes his own damnation, and he cannot blame God with it. “Thou hast destroyed thyself!” There is still another objection, viz., that eternal punishment is too long as the penalty for the sins of a short life. A just God is the best judge of this. The only question is, Was the transgressor duly forewarned? A man who proposes to embark on a steamer does not expect, after he has been told the hour of departure, that the bell will be rung for half a day, or even an hour, in accommodation to his dilatory habits. He may, by losing the voyage, change the prospects of a whole life, and even a few seconds may decide the case. A day is not too short a space for a crime which will be punished by imprisonment for life, and if a note is due at the bank, the loss of credit is not escaped because the promisor had received but one notice. Did any

person ever object to eternal salvation, that it is too long to be the reward of this short life? Dante described both heaven and hell most wonderfully, for he had been in both. Once, as the servant of sin, he had known shame and doubt and darkness and despair,— which are certainly the grim portal of hell; and then, through God’s forbearing mercy, he had found peace in believing, and love to God, which casteth out fear—and here was the beginning of heaven. And so, when timid people saw him as he glided along the street, they said, with a shudder, “There is the man who has been in hell!” If we would not go where Judas has gone, we must begin our heavenly life on earth. (J. N. Norton, D. D.)

The soul in “his own place” I. Every being must have its own place. Nothing can be more obvious than the exact adaptation to each other and to the region in which they dwell, of the objects and beings of this world. 1. Everything which is earthly, whose being belongs to, and will terminate with earth, is in its own place. Who can doubt that the bird, with its curious mechanism of eye and wing, was intented to exist in air; or-that the fish has been expressly formed for its watery abode; or that the beast of prey is at home in its forest haunts; or that man himself, physically considered, was intended for his abode and position here, and that if removed to another world, differing at all in its constitution from the present, they must either cease to exist, or exist only in a state of disorder and distress? 2. We may extend the observation to the world itself; and say, that our globe moves year after year along its own path, that it revolves in the very orbit for which it was designed. 3. And certainly it is true of the human intellect, that it has been provided with proper objects and occasions for the exercise of its powers, that it is placed in the midst of circumstances which are fitted to educate its faculties. It is required for earthly uses; and it has been accurately adapted to the purposes for which it is required. 4. Spiritual beings have likewise their “own place”; that although it may not be the case here, yet elsewhere, moral natures will find their own appropriate abode, will move amidst scenes and society with the spirit of which they can truly sympathise. The being who loves holiness and truth, must, in its perfect and proper condition, consort only with beings who love holiness and truth, and dwell in a region of holiness; and the being who loves evil and error, must, in its final and proper condition, consort only with beings who love evil and error, and dwell in an abode of evil. And the Scriptures uniformly represent the final abodes of men, as being severally adapted to the righteous and the wicked. But it is evident that these separate states can never exist on earth, nor be entered by those who are yet in the flesh. The infirmities of the body, as well as the influence of external things, must hinder a consummate manifestation of holiness, as well as a perfect development of evil. II. The light which this principle throws upon our present state. Like Judas while still on earth, we are not now in our own place, but we are going there. Our position is temporary and imperfect. And its difficulties can be explained, only by regarding it as introductory to our perfect and permanent condition. The evil and the good are now joined together in a confused and discordant mass. They are travelling in companies along the same road, and strange appears the disorder and disunion in which they now proceed; but their common path will soon branch into two avenues, along which they will move in separated groups, each in its proper character, and each perfectly united in its course. Think of Judas associating with his fellow apostles and with his Lord; his utter want of sympathy with them; the irksome restraint, of which he must have been

ever conscious. He is a type and example to ourselves. Are there any who have a love for holiness? Then earth is not their home, and cannot be their abiding place. Like Judas, they are living amidst circumstances in which they have no delight; among companions with whom they have no fellowship. Are there any who have a love for evil? Like Judas, they must often come among the true disciples of our Lord; but then, like Judas, they would rather be away. They are not now in their own place. III. The light which this principle throws upon our future state. This principle is applicable to the explanation of the difficulty, that while the varieties of moral character are almost innumerable, we should be told of only two states after death. With respect to the holy or the utterly depraved, there is no difficulty. Heaven is plainly fitted for the one, and hell for the other. But the majority of mankind occupy a medium position; we can hardly affirm that they belong to the one or the other, displaying continually as they do the characteristics of both. There seems no reason why they should spend their eternity with saints; nor in the outer darkness “prepared for the devil and his angels.” Then, again, there are vast numbers who may more easily be described by saying what they are not, than by saying what they are. These, again, appear to be without fitness, as without merit, for an abode either with angels or with fiends. Now to this difficulty, our text, taken in connection with other Scriptures, seems to give a decisive explanation. Judas is represented as going unto “his own place,” as if, when his soul after death came at once under the dominion and influence of a spiritual law, which removed it to the sphere which was properly its own. And the difficulty will be at once removed, if we can assign this law, and show that it must take effect on every spirit dividing the souls of men into two classes, according to one decisive characteristic which, whatever be their varieties of moral character, either is or is not clearly inscribed upon them all. This law our Lord has Himself asserted. Of every being it may be affirmed either that it does or does not love God. And according to their possession or their want of this affection will some go away to the kingdom prepared for them, and others to that “prepared for the devil and his angels.” There are some souls in a state of indifference, and some in a state of hatred to God. But both these want the principle, which alone can make heaven their own place. And there are other souls which love God and are in affinity with Him; such, when they leave earth, must proceed at once to heaven. It is “their own place,” for God is there, and they are spiritually united unto Him; for Christ is there, and where He is, there must they also be; for it is an abode of holiness, and they have been sanctified by Almighty grace, they have been made meet for that inheritance of light. (G. S. Drew, M. A.)

Men sorted in the future Men will be sorted yonder. Gravitation will come into play undisturbed; and the pebbles will be ranged according to their weights on the great shore where the sea has east them up, as they are upon Chesil beach down there in the English Channel, and many another coast besides; all the big ones together and sized off to the smaller ones, regularly and steadily laid out. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Where would we be I was in America a few months ago, and went down the Alleghany Mountain on a railway train. It was a thing to remember to see the speed at which we went down the incline. A nervous passenger asked the conductor: “What would happen to us if the brake gave

way?” “We have a spare one which we would apply at once,” he answered. “If it also gave way, what then?” again queried the passenger. “We have one on the last van, which we can put on.” “If it gave way, where would we he?” The conductor looked him in the face, and said gravely: “Friend, that depends upon the way you have lived.” The fall of Judas God does not predestinate man to fail. That is strikingly told in the history of Judas. “From a ministry and apostleship Judas fell, that he might go to his own place.” The ministry and apostleship were that to which God had destined him. To work out that was the destiny appointed to him, as truly as to any of the other apostles. He was called, elected to that. But when he refused to execute that mission, the very circumstances which, by God’s decree, were leading him to blessedness, hurried him to ruin. Circumstances prepared by eternal love became the destiny which conducted him to everlasting doom. He was a predestined man—crushed by his fate. But he went to his own place. He had shaped his own destiny. So the ship is wrecked by the winds and waves—hurried to its fate. But the wind and waves were in truth its best friends. Rightly guided, it would have made use of them to reach the port; wrongly steered, they became the destiny which drove it on the rocks. Failure—the wreck of life, is not to be impiously traced to the will of God. God will have all men to be saved, and come to a knowledge of the truth. God willeth not the death of a sinner. (F. W. Robertson.)

Hypocrisy does not disprove the reality of religion Will you say that there are no real stars, because you sometimes see meteors fall, which for a time appear to be stars? Will you say that blossoms never produce fruit, because many of them fall off, and some fruit which appeared sound is rotten at the core? Equally absurd is it to say there is no such thing as real religion, because many who profess it fall away or prove to be hypocrites in heart. (E. Payson.)

A place for every man I. Every man has his own place, here and hereafter. II. Every man makes his own place, here and hereafter. III. Every man finds his own place, here and hereafter. IV. Every man feels that it is his own place when he gets there. (A. Dickson, D. D.)

Every man in his own place When you know where you will most likely find a man for whom you are looking, you commonly know also what to expect of the man himself when he is found. Nobody would select for a position of trust a youth whom everybody would say was to be looked for at the drinking-saloon or at the idler’s corner. A fair question to ask, in the case of any man about whom you would learn, is: Will he probably be found—at the race-course, or in some place of honest business, during the daytime; at the club-room or in his library, in the evening; at the theatre, or at the prayer-meeting? That is also a fair question for every one to ask of himself: Where may those who know me best most reasonably expect to find me? The answer to that question tells a great deal regarding personal character; not because the place makes the man, but because the man chooses his place, and sooner

or later he will find the place which is likest to himself. Scripture need say no more regarding the spiritual fate of Judas Iscariot than that he went to his own place. (H. C. Trumball, D. D.)

The law of spiritual gravitation 1. No event in the history of science more widely known as that of Sir I. Newton and the fall of the apple. From thence the law of gravitation in the law of matter. 2. Similar law in the world of mind. 3. The text teaches us that there is such a law in the world of spirit. I. It is independent of a man’s position. There is no royal road in gravitation by which the delicate flower shall need no support because of its beauty; or by which success shall be secured to an idle man; or in the spiritual life a man be kept secure because his privileges are great. Law is inexorable. The higher the privilege the greater the fall, if the conditions are not observed. 1. The high position of Judas did not save him. Think of the probable effects of such a position as that of apostle, companion of Christ. But behold the actual effects. His advantages were but the instruments of his fall. 2. It is so with us. No man is out of the reach of law. In the matter of privilege our case in many respects analogous. Trace the history of a soul; let it hate what God loves and love what God hates: during all that time it is gravitating to its own place, with all the certainty of law. And when he dies the man does not leave himself behind, the man and his character constitute the undying self. II. It is accelerating in its progress. Nature is full of instances of this. Things and events tend to a climax; the sun passes on to its meridian, the river to the full, the avalanche to its final crash. 1. Watch this with Judas. His downward course was hastened by his reigning sin (Joh_12:4; Joh_13:2; Joh_13:27; Mat_27:15), and by the feeling of isolation (Mat_ 27:3-5), for he was cut off from the good and spurned by the evil. 2. It is so with all men similarly placed. By the growing strength of a given tendency, and by its power to employ all the mind. For life tends to a unity. More and more one purpose or passion or set of purposes or passions govern the life. Let the backslider and impenitent lay this to heart. III. It determines the future by the present. You can see the ill effects of some things, but this great law works more quietly. In Judas it is worked before our eyes. His use of opportunity and position made his place for him. “He was a thief,” and that is the cause “he went to his own place”; that is the effect. We are architects of our own fortunes. Apart from repentance and faith there is no cleansing, and it is worse than madness to think that life hereafter will be other than the outcome of the life here. IV. It leads to a self-made destiny. He was not doomed to sin, and his destiny was but the natural outcome of such a life. It did not need a Judas to save the world, though his is but the greatest out of a thousand cases in which man’s evil is made to work out the saving purposes of God. The destiny of Judas was of his own making, and not of Christ’s. It is so with ourselves (note difference between Mat_25:34; Mat_25:41). (G. T. Keeble.)

And they gave forth their lots.— The lot As interpreted by verse 24 and by the word “fell” here there can be no doubt that the passage speaks of “lots” and not “votes.” The two were standing, as far as they could see, on the same level. It was left for the Searcher of hearts to show, by the exclusion of human will, which of the two He had chosen. The most usual way of casting lots in such cases was to write each name on a tablet, place them in an urn, and then shake the urn till one came out. (Dean Plumptre.)

The lot The only instance of an appeal to lots occurs between the departure of our Lord and Pentecost. The Church could dispense with them after the coming of the Holy Ghost, who was to guide into all truth, through whom we are encouraged to hope for a right judgment in all things. No recourse was had to lots in the appointment of deacons. But the Church regards the appointment as Divine (collect for St. Matthias’ day). Under the Old Testament lots were regarded as divinely directed (Pro_16:33), and therefore conclusive (Pro_18:18). They distinguished the scapegoat (Lev_16:8), convicted Achan, designated Saul to the monarchy, and distributed the promised land (Num_26:55-56). Lots also assigned their several duties among the priests in the temple (1Ch_24:5; 1Ch_ 25:8; Luk_1:9). Augustine deemed it lawful to determine by lot what ministers of the Church should remain and who should seek safety by flight, when prosecution threatened. The Moravians in 1464 had recourse to lots for deciding the question of their having a ministry of their own, and in 1467 for the appointment of their first three ministers. As late as 1731, the retention of their own discipline instead of incorporation with the Lutheran Church, was determined in like manner. Wesley also had, and indulged, a predilection for sortilege. (Bp. Jacobson.)

The lot: its lawfulness for Christians When two courses are open to a man, and he is in doubt as to the election of either of them, why should he not, after due religious preparation, involving as this must the entire subordination of his will to God, risk the decision of the case on the casting of lots? Is there anything in such a course inconsistent with the simplicity of the Christian religion? The man, it is presumed, is most deeply anxious to know what God would have him do; he is willing to make any sacrifice the Divine will may impose on him, and however the decision may oppose his own choice he is prepared to accept it. Under such circumstances surely the lot may be used with advantage. But everything depends upon the spirit of the inquirer. For he may almost unconsciously manipulate the lot so as to gratify a wish he would hardly confess even to himself. In almost all cases of doubt, the perplexed man has more or less of a choice. At that point the battle has to be fought. The man has a leaning towards a certain course, yet he would not pursue it if he knew it to be opposed to the Divine will; at the same time he would be most thankful were the lot to confirm his secret bias. That man is not prepared to go to the lot until he has divested himself of every suggestion of his own will. We are not prepared to teach that upon every occasion we should turn the decisions of our life upon the casting of lots. We are not prepared to condemn their use, thus guarded, in very special cases of difficulty. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Matthias.— After life of Matthias We know no particulars of the after life of Matthias. He was of course partaker with the rest of the twelve of the miraculous effusion of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost; and afterwards of their labours and distresses, at first in Judaea, and then in other parts of the world. But where St. Matthias went is uncertain; some say Macedonia, some say Ethiopia, some say Cappadocia. All authorities, I believe, are agreed that he won the crown of a martyr; but how he died, or where, or when, we cannot certainly tell. One account says that he was taken by the Jews, and stoned, and afterwards beheaded on a charge of blasphemy; another, that he was crucified, “as Judas was hanged upon a tree, so Matthias suffered upon a cross.” (A. M. Loring, M. A.)

Obscure lives of saints Clement of Alexandria recounts for us some sayings traditionally ascribed to St. Matthias, all of a severe and sternly ascetic tone. But in reality we know nothing of what he either did or taught. The vast majority even of the apostles have their names alone recorded, while nothing is told concerning their labours or their sufferings. Their one desire was that Christ alone should be magnified, and to this end they willed to lose themselves in the boundless sea of His risen glory. And thus they have left us a noble and inspiriting example. We are not apostles, martyrs, or confessors, yet we often find it hard to take our part and do our duty in the spirit displayed by Matthias and Joseph called Barsabas. We long for public recognition and public reward. We chafe and fret internally because we have to bear our temptations and suffer our trials and do our work unknown and unrecognised by all but God. Let the example of these holy men help us to put away all such vain thoughts. God Himself is our all-seeing and ever-present Judge. The Incarnate Master Himself is watching us. The angels and the spirits of the just made perfect are witnesses of our earthly struggles. No matter how low, how humble, how insignificant the story of our spiritual trials and struggles, they are all marked in heaven by that Divine Master, who will at last reward every man, not according to his position in the world, but in strict accordance with the principles of infallible justice. (G. T. Stokes, D. D.)

He was numbered with the eleven apostles.— The election of Matthias The Greek word is not the same as in verses 17, and implies that Matthias was “voted in,” the suffrage of the Church unanimously confirming the indication of the Divine will what had been given by the lot. It may be that the new apostle took the place that Judas had rendered vacant, and was reckoned as the last of the twelve. (Dean Plumptre.)

A Divine appointment The validity of the appointment, which has been questioned, is incidentally recognised in Act_2:14; Act_6:2; the Twelve must have included Matthias. The appointment being

directly Divine superseded the laying on of hands. (Bp. Jacobsen.).

7. CALVI , "They were to choose one only into the room of Judas; they present two. Here may a question be asked, Why they were not contented with one only? Was it because they were so like, that they could not discern whether was more fit? This truly had been no sufficient reason why they should suffer it to be decided by lots. And also it seemeth that Joseph was of greater estimation otherwise; or was it because they were diversely affectioned? But this seemeth scarce probable, neither is this to be admitted as true, because of that most excellent testimony which Luke did give a little before of their unity and agreement. Lastly, It had been very absurd for them to have polluted the election of the apostle with such strife and contention. 70 But for this cause did they use the casting of lots, that it might be known that Matthias was not only chosen by the voices of men, but also that he was made by the determination and judgment of God. For there was this difference between the apostles and the pastors, that the pastors were chosen simply by the Church, the apostles were called of God. In which respect Paul, in the preface of his Epistle to the Galatians, (Galatians 1:2,) doth profess himself to be an apostle, “neither of men, neither made by man.” Therefore, like as the dignity of this function was excellent, so was it meet that in the choosing of Matthias, the chief judgment should be left unto God, howsoever men did their duty. Christ by his own mouth did appoint the rest; therefore, if Matthias had been chosen only by man to be one of them, he should have had less authority than they. This was very orderly done, 71 that the disciples should present unto God those whom they thought to be the best; and he should choose to himself whom he knew to be most fit, so that God, by the fall of the lot, doth pronounce that he did allow of the apostleship of Matthias. But the apostles might seem to have dealt very rashly and disorderly, which laid so great and weighty a matter upon a lot; for what certainty could they gather thereby? I answer, that they did it only as they were moved thereunto by the Holy Spirit; for although Luke doth not express this, yet, because he will not accuse the disciples of rashness, but rather doth show that this election was lawful and approved of God; I say, therefore, that they went this way to work, being moved by the Spirit, like as they were directed in all the action by the same Spirit. But why do they not pray that God would choose whom he would out of the whole multitude? Why do they restrain his judgment unto two? Is not this to rob God of his liberty, when as they tie him, and, as it were, make him subject unto their voices and consents? 72 But whosoever shall quietly ponder the matter shall plainly perceive, by the drift of Luke, that the disciples durst do nothing but that which they knew was their duty to do, and was commanded them by the Lord. As for the contentious, let them go shake their ears. 8. HAWKER, “And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed
Justus, and Matthias. (24) And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, (25) That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he

might go to his own place. (26) And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. The casting lots with an eye to the Lord, was agreeable to Scripture, Pro_16:33. And the Scape Goat was chosen in the same manner, Lev_16:8. But let not the Reader overlook what is said, of his going to his own place. For whether this refers to Matthias or to Judas, the doctrine is the same. Every man hath his own place. Hence, the Psalmist, describing the assembly of the wicked in hell, and the succession of characters for that place, saith: he shall follow the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light, Psa_ 59:17. And where is that? Like sheep, (saith he,) they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them. The old translation hath it: they lie in the hell like sheep. For the double death, is first in the grave, and secondly in hell. And hence David takes comfort, that God had re deemed his soul from the power of hell: for saith he, he shall receive me. Hence every man, both in life, and death, goeth to his own place. Reader! ponder well the striking subject! Oh! the vast difference, between the precious, and the vile: between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.

24Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen

1. Barnes, “And they prayed - As they could not agree on the individual, they invoked the direction of God in their choice - an example which should be followed in every selection of an individual to exercise the duties of the sacred office of the ministry. Which knowest the hearts of all men - This is often declared to be the special prerogative of God, Jer_17:10, “I, Yahweh, search the heart,” etc.; Psa_139:1, Psa_ 139:23; 1Ch_28:9. Yet this attribute is also expressly ascribed to Jesus Christ, Rev_2:18; compare 23, “These things saith the Son of God - I am he which searcheth the reins and the hearts”; Joh_2:25; Joh_6:64; Joh_16:19. There are strong reasons for supposing that the apostles on this occasion addressed this prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ: (1) The name Lord - Κύριος Kurios - is the common appellation which they gave to him, Act_2:36; Act_7:59-60; Act_10:36; 1Co_2:8; Phi_2:11; Rev_11:8, et al. (2) We are told that they worshipped him, or rendered him divine honors after his ascension, Luk_24:52. (3) The disciples were accustomed to address him after his crucifixion by the names Lord or God indifferently, Act_1:6; Joh_20:28; Act_7:59. (4) This was a matter pertaining especially to the church which the Lord Jesus had redeemed, and “to his own arrangement” in regard to it. He had chosen the apostles; he

had given them their commission; he had fixed their number; and, what is worthy of special remark here, he had been the companion of the very men here designated as candidates for the office, and knew their qualifications for this work. If the apostles ever called on the Lord Jesus after his ascension, this was a case in which they would be likely to do it. That it was done is clear from the account of the death of Stephen, Act_7:59-60. And in this important matter of ordaining a new apostle to be a witness for Jesus Christ, nothing was more natural than that they should address him, though bodily absent, as they would assuredly have done if he were present. But if on this occasion they did actually address Christ, then two things clearly follow. First, that it is proper to render him divine homage, agreeably to the uniform declarations of the Scripture: Joh_5:23, “That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father”; Heb_1:6, “And let all the angels of God worship him”; Phi_2:10-11; Rev_5:8-14; 1Th_3:11-12. Secondly, he must be divine. To none other but God can religious homage be rendered; and none other can be described as knowing the hearts of all people. The reason why they appealed to him on this occasion as the searcher of the heart was doubtless the great importance of the work to which the successor of Judas was to be called. One apostle of fair external character had proved a traitor; and, with this fact before them, they appealed to the Saviour himself to select one who would be true to him, and not bring dishonor upon his cause. Show whether ... - Show which of them. Thou hast chosen - Which of the two thou hast judged to be best qualified for the work.

2. Clarke, “Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts - Συ, κυριε, καρδιογνωστα. The
word καρδιογνωστης, the searcher of hearts, seems to be used here as an attribute of God; he knows the hearts, the most secret purposes, intentions, and dispositions of all men; and because he is the knower of hearts, he knew which of these men he had qualified the best, by natural and gracious dispositions and powers, for the important work to which one of them was now to be appointed.

3. Gill, “And they prayed and said,.... Having proposed the above two persons, and
not well knowing which to pitch upon, they being both very agreeable and fit for such service; they chose not to determine the affair without seeking to God for direction; a method to be taken in all cases, and especially in matters of importance: and the substance of their petition, though perhaps not in just the same words, was, thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men; which is a character peculiar to the one only living, and true God; for none knows the hearts of men, but God, who is the Maker of them; and he knows all the thoughts, counsels, and purposes of them, and the good or bad that is in them: shew whether of these two thou hast chosen; being desirous of having their choice directed by the choice God had made, in his eternal mind; and which they desired might be signified and pointed out to them, in some way or another, that they might be certain of the mind and will of God, and act according to it.

4. Henry, “They applied to God by prayer for direction, not which of the seventy, for
none of the rest could stand in competition with these in the opinion of all present, but which of these two? Act_1:24, Act_1:25. (1.) They appeal to God as the searcher of hearts: “Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, which we do not, and better than they know their own.” Observe, When an apostle was to be chosen, he must be chosen by his heart, and the temper and disposition of that. Yet Jesus, who knew all men's hearts, for wise and holy ends chose Judas to be one of the twelve. It is comfortable to us, in our prayers for the welfare of the church and its ministers, that the God to whom we pray knows the hearts of all men, and has them not only under his eye, but in his hand, and turns them which way soever he will, can make them fit for his purpose, if he do not find them so, by giving them another spirit. (2.) They desire to know which of these God had chosen: Lord, show us this, and we are satisfied. It is fit that God should choose his own servants; and so far as he in any way by the disposals of his providence or the gifts of his Spirit, shows whom he hath chosen, or what he hath chosen, for us, we ought to comply with him. (3.) They are ready to receive him as a brother whom God hath chosen; for they are not contriving to have so much the more dignity themselves, by keeping out another, but desire to have one to take part of this ministry and apostleship, to join with them in the work and share with them in the honour, from which Judas by transgression fell, threw himself, by deserting and betraying his Master, from the place of an apostle, of which he was unworthy, that he might go to his own place, the place of a traitor, the fittest place for him, not only to the gibbet, but to hell - this was his own place. Note, Those that betray Christ, as they fall from the dignity of relation to him, so they fall into all misery. It is said of Balaam (Num_24:25) that he went to his own place, that is, says one of the rabbin, he went to hell. Dr. Whitby quotes Ignatius saying, There is appointed to every man idios topos - a proper place, which imports the same with that of God's rendering to every man according to his works. And our Saviour had said that Judas's own place should be such that it had been better for him that he had never been born (Mat_26:24) - his misery such as to be worse than not being. Judas had been a hypocrite, and hell is the proper place of such; other sinners, as inmates, have their portion with them, Mat_24:51

5. Jamison, “prayed and said, Thou, Lord, etc. — “The word ‘Lord,’ placed absolutely, denotes in the New Testament almost universally THE SON; and the words, ‘Show whom Thou hast chosen,’ are decisive. The apostles are just Christ’s messengers: It is He that sends them, and of Him they bear witness. Here, therefore, we have the first example of a prayer offered to the exalted Redeemer; furnishing indirectly the strongest proof of His divinity” [Olshausen]. which knowest the hearts of all men — See Joh_2:24, Joh_2:25; Joh_21:15-17; Rev_2:23.

6. RWP, “Show us the one whom thou hast chosen (anadeixon hon exelexō).
First aorist active imperative of anadeiknumi, to show up, make plain. First aorist middle indicative second person singular of eklegō, to pick out, choose, select. In this prayer they assume that God has made a choice. They only wish to know his will. They call God the heart-searcher or heart-knower (kardiognōsta, vocative singular), a late word,

here and Act_15:8 only in the N.T. Modern physicians have delicate apparatus for studying the human heart.

7. Calvin, “In praying, they said. Word for word it is, Having prayed, they said; but there is no obscurity in the sense, because his meaning was to speak as followeth, that they prayed; and yet he doth not reckon up all the words, being content briefly to show the sum. Therefore, although they were both of honest conversation, yea, although they did excel in holiness and other virtues, yet because the integrity of the heart, whereof God is the alone knower and judge, is the chief, the disciples pray that God would bring that to light which was hidden from men. The same ought to be required even at this day in choosing pastors; for howsoever we are not to appoint two for one, yet because we may oftentimes be deceived, and the discerning of spirits cometh of the Lord, we must always pray unto God, that he will show unto us what men he will have to be ministers, that he may direct and govern our purposes. Here we may also gather what great regard we must have of integrity and innocency in choosing pastors, without which both learning and eloquence, and what excellency soever can be invented, are as nothing.

25to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs."

1. Barnes, “That he may take part of this ministry - The word rendered “part” κλᇿρον klēron - is the same which in the next verse is rendered lots. It properly means a lot or portion the portion divided to a man, or assigned to him by casting lots; and also the instrument or means by which the lot is determined. The former is its meaning here; the office, or portion of apostolic work, which would fall to him by taking the place of Judas. Ministry and apostleship - This is an instance of the figure of speech hendiadys, when two words are used to express one thing. It means the apostolic ministry. See instances in Gen_1:14, “Let them be for signs and for seasons,” that is, signs of seasons; Act_23:6, “Hope and resurrection of the dead,” that is, hope of the resurrection of the dead. From which Judas by transgression fell - Literally, went aside - παρέβη parebē “as opposed to the idea of adhering faithfully to the character and service which his apostleship required of him” (Prof. Hackett). The transgression referred to was his

treason and suicide. That he might go to his own place - These words by different interpreters have been referred both to Matthias and Judas. Those who refer them to Matthias say that they mean that Judas fell that Matthias might go to his own place, that is, to a place for which he was suited, or well qualified. But to this there are many objections: 1. The apostolic office could with no propriety be called, in reference to Matthias, his own place, until it was actually conferred upon him. 2. There is no instance in which the expression to go to his own place is applied to a successor in office. 3. It is not true that the design or reason why Judas fell was to make way for another. He fell by his crimes; his avarice, his voluntary and enormous wickedness. 4. The former part of the sentence contains this sentiment: “Another must be appointed to this office which the death of Judas has made vacant.” If this expression, “that he might go,” etc., refers to the successor of Judas, it expresses the same sentiment, but more obscurely. 5. The obvious and natural meaning of the phrase is to refer it to Judas. But those who suppose that it refers to Judas differ greatly about its meaning. Some suppose that it refers to his own house, and that the meaning is, that he left the apostolic office to return to his own house; and they appeal to Num_24:25. But it is not true that Judas did this; nor is there the least proof that it was his design. Others refer it to the grave, as the place of man, where all must lie; and particularly as an ignominious place where it was proper that a traitor like Judas should lie. But there is no example where the word “place” is used in this sense, nor is there an instance where a man, by being buried, is said to return to his own or proper place. Others have supposed that the manner of his death by hanging is referred to as his own or his proper place. But this interpretation is evidently an unnatural and forced one. The word “place” cannot be applied to an act of selfmurder. It denotes “habitation, abode, situation in which to remain”; not an act. These are the only interpretations of the passage which can be suggested, except the common one of referring it to the abode of Judas in the world of woe. This might be said to be his own, as he had prepared himself for it, and as it was proper that he who betrayed his Lord should dwell there. This interpretation may be defended by the following considerations: 1. It is the obvious and natural meaning of the words. It commends itself by its simplicity and its evident connection with the context. It has in all ages been the common interpretation; nor has any other been adopted, except in cases where there was a theory to be defended about future punishment. Unless people had previously made up their minds not to believe in future punishment, no one would ever have thought of any other interpretation. This fact alone throws strong light on the meaning of the passage. 2. It accords with the crimes of Judas, and with all that we know of him. What the future doom of Judas would be was not unknown to the apostles. Jesus Christ had expressly declared this - “it had been good for that man if he had not been born”; a declaration which could not be true if, after any limited period of suffering, he was at last admitted to eternal happiness. See Mat_26:24, and the notes on that place. This declaration was made in the presence of the eleven apostles, at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and at a time when their attention was absorbed with deep interest in what Christ said; and it was therefore a declaration which they would not be likely to forget. As they knew the fate of Judas beforehand, nothing was more natural for them than to speak of it familiarly as a thing which had actually occurred when he betrayed his Lord and hung himself.

3. The expression “to go to his own place” is one which is used by the ancient writers to denote “going to an eternal destiny.” Thus, the Jewish Tract, Baal Turim, on Num_ 24:25, says, “Balaam went to his own place, that is, to Gehenna,” to hell. Thus, the Targum, or Chaldee Paraphrase on Ecc_6:6, says,” Although the days of a man's life were two thousand years, and he did not study the Law, and do justice, in the day of his death his soul shall descend to hell, to the one place where all sinners go.” Thus, Ignatius in the Epistle to the Magnesians says, “Because all things have an end, the two things death and life shall lie down together, and each one shall go to his own place.” The phrase his own place means the place or abode which was suited for him, which was his appropriate home. Judas was not in a place which befitted his character when he was an apostle; he was not in such a place in the church; he would not be in heaven. Hell was the only place which was suited to the man of avarice and of treason. And if this be the true interpretation of this passage, then it follows: 1. That there will be such a thing as future, eternal punishment. There is certainly one man in hell, and ever will be. If there is one there, for the same reason there may be others. All objections to the doctrine are removed by this single fact; and it cannot be true that all people will be saved. 2. Each individual in eternity will find his own proper place. The punishment of hell is not an arbitrary appointment. Every man will go to the place for which his character is suited. The hypocrite is not suited for heaven. The man of pride, and avarice, and pollution, and falsehood, is not suited for heaven. The place adapted to such people is hell; and the design of the judgment will be to assign to each individual his proper abode in the eternal world. It would not be fit that the holy and pure should dwell forever in the same place with the unholy and impure; and the Lord Jesus will come to assign to each his appropriate eternal habitation. 3. The sinner will have no cause of complaint. If he is assigned to his proper place, he cannot complain. If he is unfit for heaven, he cannot complain that he is excluded. And if his character and feelings are such as make it proper that he should find his eternal abode among the enemies of God, then he must expect that a God of justice and equity will assign him such a doom. But, 4. This will not alleviate his pain; it will deepen his woe. He will have the eternal consciousness that that, and that only, is his place - the abode for which he is suited. The prison is no less dreadful because a man is conscious that he deserves it. The gallows is not the less terrible because the man knows that he deserves to die. And the consciousness of the sinner that he is unfit for heaven; that there is not a solitary soul there with whom he could have sympathy or friendship; that he is fit for hell, and hell only, will be an ingredient of eternal bitterness in the cup of woe that awaits him. Let not the sinner then hope to escape; for God will assuredly appoint his residence in that world to which his character here is adapted. The character and end of Judas is one of the most important and instructive things in history. It teaches us: 1. That Christ may employ wicked men for important purposes in his kingdom. See the notes on Act_1:17. He does no violence to their freedom; he permits them to act as they please, but brings important ends out of their conduct. One of the most conclusive arguments for the pure character of Jesus Christ is drawn from the silent testimony of Judas. 2. The character of Judas was eminently base and wicked. He was influenced by one of the worst human passions; and yet he concealed it from all the apostles. It was remarkable that any man should have thought of making money in such a band of men;

but avarice will show itself everywhere. 3. We see the effects of covetousness in the church. It led to the betraying of Jesus Christ, and to his death; and it has often betrayed the cause of pure religion since. There is no single human passion that has done so much evil in the church of God as this. It may be consistent with external decency and order, and in accordance with the principles on which the world acts, and which it approves, and it may therefore be indulged without disgrace, while open and acknowledged vices would expose their possessors to shame and ruin. And yet it paralyses and betrays religion probably more than any single propensity of man. 4. The character of an avaricious man in the church will be developed. Opportunities will occur when it will be seen and known by what principle he is influenced. So it was with Achan Jos_7:21; so it was with Judas; and so it will be with all. Occasions will occur which will test the character, and show what manner of spirit a man is of. Every appeal to a man’s benevolence, every call upon his charity, shows what spirit influences him whether he is actuated by the love of gold, or by the love of Christ and his cause.

2. Clarke, “That he may take part of this ministry, etc. - Instead of τον κληρον,
the lot, which we translate part, τον τοπον, the place, is the reading of ABC*, Coptic, Vulgate, and the Itala in the Codex Bezae, and from them the verse may be read thus, That he may take the place of this ministry and apostleship, (from which Judas fell) and go to his own place; but instead of ιδιον, own, the Codex Alexandrinus, and one of Matthai’s MSS., read δικαιον, just - that he might go to his just or proper place. This verse has been variously expounded: 1. Some suppose that the words, that he might go to his own place, are spoken of Judas, and his punishment in hell, which they say must be the own place of such a person as Judas. 2. Others refer them to the purchase of the field, made by the thirty pieces of silver for which he had sold our Lord. So he abandoned the ministry and apostolate, that he might go to his own place, viz. that which he had purchased. 3. Others, with more seeming propriety, state that his own place means his own house, or former occupation; he left this ministry and apostleship that he might resume his former employment in conjunction with his family, etc. This is primarily the meaning of it in Num_24:25 : And Balaam returned to His Own Place, i.e. to his own country, friends, and employment. 4. Others think it simply means the state of the dead in general, independently of either rewards or punishments; as is probably meant by Ecc_3:20 : All go unto One Place: all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. But, 5. Some of the best critics assert that the words (as before hinted) belong to Matthias - his own place being the office to which he was about to be elected. Should any object, this could not be called his own place, because he was not yet appointed to it, but hell might be properly called Judas’s own place, because, by treason and covetousness, he was fully prepared for that place of torment, it may be answered, that the own or proper place of a man is that for which he is eligible from being qualified for it, though he may not yet possess such a place: so St. Paul, Every man

shall receive His Own reward, τον ιδιον µισθον, called there his own, not from his having it already in possession, for that was not to take place until the resurrection of the just; but from his being qualified in this life for the state of glory in the other. See the observations at the end of the chapter.

3. Gill, “That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship,.... Of the
ministry of the apostles, or of the apostolical ministration; which lay in preaching the Gospel, administering ordinances, planting churches, and working miracles; and which part, lot, or inheritance, Judas had; see Act_1:17. And from which Judas by transgression fell; by betraying his Lord, whose apostle he was, he was turned out of his office, and had no longer part in the apostolical ministry: that he might go to his own place; which may be understood of Judas, and of his going to hell, as the just punishment of his sin; which is commonly so called by the Jews, who often explain this phrase, "his place", by hell; as when it is said of Laban, Gen_31:55 that he "returned to his place", it intimates, say they (d), that he returned to his place, which was prepared for him in hell; and so likewise when it is said of Balaam, Num_ 24:25 that he "returned to his place", they observe (e), that "he did not return from his evil way, but returned to his place; and so intimates by saying, to his place, that which was prepared for him in hell, as the Rabbins of blessed memory say (f); "they came everyone from his own place", Job_2:11 a man from his house, a man from his country it is not written, but a man from his place, which was prepared for him in hell; and because they came to show mercy to Job, they were delivered from hell, and became worthy of the world to come; and so here, and "he returned to his place", ‫המוכן לו בגהינם‬, "which was prepared for him in hell". And another of their writers (g), on the same passage, has this remark, and he returned to his place, and he does not say, "he went on his way, for he was driven out of his way, and went down to hell. And agreeably to what is said of Job's friends, the Targumist on Job_2:11 paraphrases the words thus, "and there came a man, or everyone from his place, and by this merit they were delivered from the place, prepared for them in hell. And which place the same Targumist on Job_8:4 calls ‫אתר מרדיהון‬, "the place of their rebellion";

that is, procured by it: and so Judas's own place was what he had merited by his sin, and was righteously appointed for him; and though it was not peculiar to him, but common to all impenitent sinners, yet very proper for him, as a betrayer; for it is a settled point with the Jews (h), that "he that betrays an Israelite into the hands of the Gentiles (so Judas betrayed his master), whether in his body, or in his substance, has no part in the world to come. This clause is by some understood not of Judas, but of Matthias, or of him that was to come in the room of Judas; and by "his own place" it is thought is meant, the "part of the ministry and apostleship", in the former clause, and which the Alexandrian copy reads, "the place of this ministry", he was to take; and now Judas by his iniquity falling from it, made way for another, for Matthias to go to his own place, which God had in his counsel and purposes designed for him; or "into his place", as the Syriac and Arabic versions render it; that is, into the place of Judas, to take his place among the apostles, in his room and stead: the Alexandrian copy reads, "into that righteous place",

4. RWP, “Apostleship (apostolēs). Jesus had called the twelve apostles. An old
word for sending away, then for a release, then the office and dignity of an apostle (Act_ 1:25; Rom_1:5; 1Co_9:2; Gal_2:8). To his own place (eis ton topon ton idion). A bold and picturesque description of the destiny of Judas worthy of Dante’s Inferno. There is no doubt in Peter’s mind of the destiny of Judas nor of his own guilt. He made ready his own berth and went to it.

5. Jamison, “that he might go to his own place — A euphemistic or softened
expression of the awful future of the traitor, implying not only destined habitation but congenial element.

6. VWS, “That he may take part (λαβεሏν λαβεሏν τᆵν τᆵν κλᇿρον κλᇿρον)
Lit., to take the lot. But the best texts read τᆵν τόπον, the place. Rev., to take the place. By transgression fell (παρέβη παρέβη) See on trespasses, Mat_6:14. The rendering of the A. V. is explanatory. Rev., better, fell away. His own place

Compare “the place in this ministry.” Τᆵν ᅺδιον, his own, is stronger than the simple possessive pronoun. It is the place which was peculiarly his, as befitting his awful sin Gehenna.

26Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

1. Barnes, “And they gave forth their lots - Some have supposed that this means
they voted. But to this interpretation there are insuperable objections: 1. The word “lots,” κλήρους klērous, is not used to express votes, or suffrage. 2. The expression “the lot fell upon” is not consistent with the notion of voting. It is commonly expressive of casting lots. 3. Casting lots was common among the Jews on important and difficult occasions, and it was natural that the apostles should resort to it in this. Thus, David divided the priests by lot, 1Ch_24:5. The land of Canaan was divided by lot, Num_26:55; Jos. 15; Jos_16:1-10; Jos. 17; etc. Jonathan, son of Saul, was detected as having violated his father’s command. and as bringing calamity on the Israelites by lot, 1Sa_14:41-42. Achan was detected by lot, Jos_7:16-18. In these instances the use of the lot was regarded as a solemn appeal to God for his direct interference in cases which they could not themselves decide. Pro_16:33, “the lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” The choice of an apostle was an event of the same kind, and was regarded as a solemn appeal to God for his direction and guidance in a case which the apostles could not determine. The manner in which this was done is not certainly known. The common mode of casting lots was to write the names of the persons on pieces of stone, wood, etc., and put them in one urn, and the name of the office, portion, etc., on others. These were then placed in an urn with other pieces of stone, etc., which were blank. The names were then drawn at random, and also the other pieces, and this settled the case. The casting of a lot is determined by laws of nature as regularly as anything else. There is properly no chance in it. We do not know how a die may turn up; but this does not imply that it will turn up without any regard to rule, or at haphazard. We cannot trace the influences which may determine either this or that side to come up; but it is done by regular and proper laws, and according to the circumstances of position, force, etc., in which it is cast. Still, although it does not imply any special or miraculous interposition of Providence; though it may not be absolutely wrong, in cases which cannot otherwise be determined, to use the lot, yet it does not follow that it is proper often to make this appeal.

Almost all cases of doubt can be determined more satisfactorily in some other way than by the lot. The habit of appealing to it engenders the love of hazards and of games; leads to heart-burnings, to jealousies, to envy, to strife, and to dishonesty. Still less does the example of the apostles authorize games of hazard, or lotteries, which are positively evil, and attended with ruinous consequences, apart from any inquiry about the lawfulness of the lot. They either originate in, or promote covetousness, neglect of regular industry, envy, jealousy, disappointment, dissipation, bankruptcy, falsehood, and despair. What is gained by one is lost by another, and both the gain and the loss promote some of the worst passions of man boasting, triumph, self-confidence, indolence, dissipation, on the one hand; and envy, disappointment, sullenness, desire of revenge, remorse, and ruin on the other. God intended that man should live by sober toil. All departures from this great law of our social existence lead to ruin. Their lots - The lots which were to decide their case. They are called theirs, because they were to determine which of them should be called to the apostolic office. The lot fell - This is an expression applicable to casting lots, not to voting. He was numbered - By the casting of the lot, συγκατεψηφίζη sugkatepsēphisthē. This word is from ψᇿφος psēphos - a calculus, or pebble, by which votes were given or lots were cast. It means, that by the result of the lot he was reckoned as an apostle. Nothing further is related of Matthias in the New Testament. Where he labored, and when and where he died, is unknown; nor is there any tradition on which reliance is to be placed. The election of Matthias, however, throws some light on the organization of the church. 1. He was chosen to fill the place vacated by Judas, and for a specific purpose, to be a witness of the resurrection of Christ. There is no mention of any other design. It was not to ordain men exclusively, or to rule over the churches, but to be a witness to an important fact. 2. There is no intimation that it was designed that there should be successors to the apostles in the special duties of the apostolic office. The election was for a definite object, and was therefore temporary. It was to fill up the number originally appointed by Christ. When the purpose for which he was appointed was accomplished, the special part of the apostolic work ceased of course. 3. There could be no succession in future ages to the special apostolic office. They were to be witnesses of the work of Christ, and when the desired effect resulting from such a witnessing was accomplished, the office itself would cease. Hence, there is no record that after this the church even pretended to appoint successors to the apostles, and hence, no ministers of the gospel can now pretend to be their successors in the unique and original design of the appointment of the apostles. 4. The only other apostle mentioned in the New Testament is the apostle Paul, not appointed as the successor of the others, not with any special design except to be an apostle to the Gentiles, as the others were to the Jews, and appointed for the same end, to testify that Jesus Christ was alive, and that he had seen him after he rose, 1Co_15:8; 1Co_9:1, 1Co_9:15; Act_22:8-9, Act_22:14-15; Act_26:17-18. The ministers of religion, therefore, are successors of the apostles, not in their special office as witnesses, but as preachers of the Word, and as appointed to establish, to organize, to edify, and to rule the churches. The unique work of the apostleship ceased with their death. The ordinary work of the ministry, which they held in common with all others who preach the gospel, will continue to the end of time.

2. Clarke, “They gave forth their lots - In what manner this or any other question
was decided by lot, we cannot precisely say. The most simple form was to put two stones,

pieces of board, metal, or slips of parchment, with the names of the persons inscribed on them, into an urn; and after prayer, sacrifice, etc., to put in the hand and draw out one of the lots, and then the case was decided. I have considered this subject at large on Lev_ 16:8, Lev_16:9; and Jos_14:2. He was numbered with the eleven apostles - The word συγκατεψηφισθη, comes from συν, together with, κατα, according to, and ψηφος, a pebble or small stone, used for lots, and as a means of enumeration among the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians; hence the words calculate, calculation, etc., from calculus, a small stone or pebble. From this use of the word, though it signifies in general to sum up, associate, etc., we may conjecture that the calculus or pebble was used on this occasion. The brethren agreed that the matter should be determined by lot; the lots were cast into the urn; God was entreated to direct the choice; one drew out a lot; the person whose name was inscribed on it was thereby declared to be the object of God’s choice, and accordingly associated with the disciples. But it is possible that the whole was decided by what we commonly call ballot, God inclining the hearts of the majority to ballot for Matthias. Nothing certain can, however, be stated on this head. Thus the number twelve was made up, that these might be the fountains under God of the whole Christian Church, as the twelve sons of Jacob had been of the Jewish Church. For it has already been remarked that our Lord formed his Church on the model of the Jewish. See the notes on Joh_17:1, etc. As the Holy Ghost, on the day of pentecost, was to descend upon them and endue them with power from on high, it was necessary that the number twelve should be filled up previously, that the newly elected person might also be made partaker of the heavenly gift. How long it was found necessary to keep up the number twelve, we are not informed: the original number was soon broken by persecution and death. On the death of Judas there is a great diversity of opinion among learned men and divines. 1. It is supposed, following the bare letter of the text, that Judas hanged himself, and that, the rope breaking, he fell down, was burst with the fall, and thus his bowels gushed out. 2. That, having hanged himself, he was thrown on the dunghill, and, the carcass becoming putrid, the abdomen, which soonest yields to putrefaction burst, and the bowels were thus shed from the body, and possibly torn out by dogs. 3. That, being filled with horror and despair, he went to the top of the house, or to some eminences and threw himself down; and thus, failing headlong, his body was broken by the fall, and his bowels gushed out. 4. That Satan, having entered into him, caught him up in the air, and thence precipitated him to the earth; and thus, his body being broken to pieces, his bowels gushed out. This is Dr. Lightfoot’s opinion, and has been noticed on Mat_ 27:5. 5. Others think that he died or was suffocated through excessive grief; and that thus the terms in the text, and in Mat_27:5, are to be understood. The late Mr. Wakefield defends this meaning with great learning and ingenuity. 6. Others suppose the expressions to be figurative: Judas having been highly exalted, in being an apostle, and even the purse-bearer to his Lord and brother disciples, by his treason forfeited this honor, and is represented as falling from a state of the highest dignity into the lowest infamy, and then dying through excessive grief. The Rev. John Jones, in his Illustrations of the four Gospels, sums up this opinion

thus: “So sensible became the traitor of the distinguished rank which he forfeited, and of the deep disgrace into which he precipitated himself, by betraying his Master, that he was seized with such violent grief as occasioned the rupture of his bowels, and ended in suffocation and death.” P. 571. After the most mature consideration of this subject, on which I hesitated to form an opinion in the note on Mat_27:5, I think the following observations may lead to a proper knowledge of the most probable state of the case. 1. Judas, like many others, thought that the kingdom of the Messiah would be a secular kingdom; and that his own secular interests must be promoted by his attachment to Christ. Of this mind all the disciples seem to have been, previously to the resurrection of Christ. 2. From long observation of his Master’s conduct, he was now convinced that he intended to erect no such kingdom; and that consequently the expectations which he had built on the contrary supposition must be ultimately disappointed. 3. Being poor and covetous, and finding there was no likelihood of his profiting by being a disciple of Christ, he formed the resolution (probably at the instigation of the chief priests) of betraying him for a sum of money sufficient to purchase a small inheritance, on which he had already cast his eye. 4. Well knowing the uncontrollable power of his Master, he might take it for granted that, though betrayed, he would extricate himself from their hands; and that they would not be capable of putting him either to pain or death. 5. That having betrayed him, and finding that he did not exert his power to deliver himself out of the hands of the Jews, and seeing, from their implacable malice, that the murder of his most innocent Master was likely to be the consequence, he was struck with deep compunction at his own conduct, went to the chief priests, confessed his own profligacy, proclaimed the innocence of his Master, and returned the money for which he had betrayed him; probably hoping that they might be thus influenced to proceed no farther in this unprincipled business, and immediately dismiss Christ. 6. Finding that this made no impression upon them, from their own words, What is that to us? See thou to that, and that they were determined to put Jesus to death, seized with horror at his crime and its consequences, the remorse and agitation of his mind produced a violent dysentery, attended with powerful inflammation; (which, in a great variety of cases, has been brought on by strong mental agitation); and while the distressful irritation of his bowels obliged him to withdraw for relief, he was overwhelmed with grief and affliction, and, having fallen from the seat, his bowels were found to have gushed out, through the strong spasmodic affections with which the disease was accompanied. I have known cases of this kind, where the bowels appeared to come literally away by piece meal. Now; when we consider that the word απηγξατο, Mat_27:5, which we translate hanged himself, is by the very best critics thus rendered, was choked, and that the words of the sacred historian in this place, falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out, may be no other than a delicate mode of expressing the circumstance to which I have alluded under observation 6, perhaps this way of reconciling and explaining the evangelist and historian will appear, not only probable, but the most likely. To strengthen this interpretation, a few facts may be adduced of deaths brought about in the same way with that in which I suppose Judas to have perished. The death of Jehoram is thus related, 2Ch_21:18, 2Ch_21:19 : And after all this, the Lord smote him

in his bowels with an incurable disease: and it came to pass that, after the end of two years, His Bowels Fell Out, by reason of his sickness; so he died of sore diseases; ‫בתחלאים‬ bethachaluim, with inflammations, or ulcers. The death of Herod was probably of the same kind, Act_12:23. That of Aristobulus, as described by Josephus, War, book i. chap. 3, is of a similar nature. Having murdered his mother and brother, his mind was greatly terrified, and his bowels being torn with excruciating torments, he voided much blood, and died in miserable agonies. Again, in his Antiq. book xv. chap. 10., sect. 3, he thus describes the death of Zenodorus: “His bowels bursting, and his strength exhausted by the loss of much blood, he died at Antioch in Syria.” Taking it for granted that the death of Judas was probably such as related above, collating all the facts and evidences together, can any hope be formed that he died within the reach of mercy? Let us review the whole of these transactions. I. It must be allowed that his crime was one of the most inexcusable ever committed by man: nevertheless, it has some alleviations. 1. It is possible that he did not think his Master could be hurt by the Jews. 2. When he found that he did not use his power to extricate himself from their hands, he deeply relented that he had betrayed him. 3. He gave every evidence of the sincerity of his repentance, by going openly to the Jewish rulers: (1.) Confessing his own guilt; (2.) asserting the innocence of Christ; (3.) returning the money which he had received from them; and there (4.) the genuineness of his regret was proved by its being the cause of his death. But, II. Judas might have acted a much worse part than he did: 1. By persisting in his wickedness. 2. By slandering the character of our Lord both to the Jewish rulers and to the Romans; and, had he done so, his testimony would have been credited, and our Lord would then have been put to death as a malefactor, on the testimony of one of his own disciples; and thus the character of Christ and his Gospel must have suffered extremely in the sight of the world, and these very circumstances would have been pleaded against the authenticity of the Christian religion by every infidel in all succeeding ages. And, 3. Had he persisted in his evil way, he might have lighted such a flame of persecution against the infant cause of Christianity as must, without the intervention of God, have ended in its total destruction: now, he neither did, nor endeavored to do, any of these things. In other cases these would be powerful pleadings. Judas was indisputably a bad man; but he might have been worse: we may plainly see that there were depths of wickedness to which he might have proceeded, and which were prevented by his repentance. Thus things appear to stand previously to his end. But is there any room for hope in his death? In answer to this it must be understood, 1. That there is presumptive evidence that he did not destroy himself; and, 2. That his repentance was sincere. If so, was it not possible for the mercy of God to extend even to his case? It did so to the murderers of the Son of God; and they were certainly worse men (strange as this assertion may appear) than Judas. Even he gave them the fullest proof of Christ’s innocence: their buying the field with the money Judas threw down was the full proof of

it; and yet, with every convincing evidence before them, they crucified our Lord. They excited Judas to betray his Master, and crucified him when they had got him into their power; and therefore St. Stephen calls them both the betrayers and murderers of that Just One, Act_7:52 : in these respects they were more deeply criminal than Judas himself; yet even to those very betrayers and murderers Peter preaches repentance, with the promise of remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, Act_3:12-26. If, then, these were within the reach of mercy, and we are informed that a great company of the priests became obedient to the faith, Act_6:7, then certainly Judas was not in such a state as precluded the possibility of his salvation. Surely the blood of the covenant could wash out even his stain, as it did that more deeply engrained one of the other betrayers and murderers of the Lord Jesus. Should the 25th verse be urged against this possibility, because it is there said that Judas fell from his ministry and apostleship, that he might go to his own place, and that this place is hell; I answer, 1. It remains to be proved that this place means hell; and, 2. It is not clear that the words are spoken of Judas at all, but of Matthias: his own place meaning that vacancy in the apostolate to which he was then elected. See the note on Act_1:25. To say that the repentance of Judas was merely the effect of his horror; that it did not spring from compunction of heart; that it was legal, and not evangelical, etc., etc., is saying what none can with propriety say, but God himself, who searches the heart. What renders his case most desperate are the words of our Lord, Mat_26:24 : Wo unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born! I have considered this saying in a general point of view in my note on Mat_ 26:24; and, were it not a proverbial form of speech among the Jews, to express the state of any flagrant transgressor, I should be led to apply it in all its literal import to the case of Judas, as I have done, in the above note, to the case of any damned soul; but when I find that it was a proverbial saying, and that it has been used in many cases where the fixing of the irreversible doom of a sinner is not implied, it may be capable of a more favorable interpretation than what is generally given to it. I shall produce a few of those examples from Schoettgen, to which I have referred in my note on Mat_26:24. In Chagigah, fol. ii. 2, it is said: “Whoever considers these four things, it would have been better for him had he never come into the world, viz. That which is above - that which is below - that which is before - and that which is behind; and whosoever does not attend to the honor of his Creator, it were better for him had he never been born.” In Shemoth Rabba, sect. 40, fol. 135, 1, 2, it is said: “Whosoever knows the law, and does not do it, it had been better for him had he never come into the world.” In Viyikra Rabba, sect. 36, fol. 179, 4, and Midrash Coheleth, fol. 91, 4, it is thus expressed: “It were better for him had he never been created; and it would have been better for him had he been strangled in the womb, and never have seen the light of this world.” In Sohar Genes. fol. 71, col. 282, it is said: “If any man be parsimonious towards the poor, it had been better for him had he never came into the world.” Ibid. fol. 84, col. 333: “If any performs the law, not for the sake of the law, it were good for that man had he never been created.” These examples sufficiently prove that this was a common proverb, and is used with a great variety and latitude of meaning, and seems intended to show that the case of such and such persons was not only very deplorable, but extremely dangerous; but does not imply the positive impossibility either of their repentance or

salvation. The utmost that can be said for the case of Judas is this he committed a heinous act of sin and ingratitude; but he repented, and did what he could to undo his wicked act: he had committed the sin unto death, i.e. a sin that involves the death of the body; but who can say (if mercy was offered to Christ’s murderers, and the Gospel was first to be preached at Jerusalem that these very murderers might have the first offer of salvation through him whom they had pierced) that the same mercy could not be extended to the wretched Judas? I contend that the chief priests, etc., who instigated Judas to deliver up his Master, and who crucified him - and who crucified him too as a malefactor - having at the same time the most indubitable evidence of his innocence, were worse men than Judas Iscariot himself; and that, if mercy was extended to those, the wretched penitent traitor did not die out of the reach of the yearning of its bowels. And I contend, farther, that there is no positive evidence of the final damnation of Judas in the sacred text. I hope it will not displease the humane reader that I have entered so deeply into the consideration of this most deplorable case. I would not set up knowingly any plea against the claims of justice; and God forbid that a sinner should be found capable of pleading against the cries of mercy in behalf of a fellow culprit! Daily, innumerable cases occur of persons who are betraying the cause of God, and selling, in effect, Christ and their souls for money. Every covetous man, who is living for this world alone, is of this stamp. And yet, while they live, we do not despair of their salvation, though they are continually repeating the sin of Judas, with all its guilt and punishment before their eyes! Reader! learn from thy Lord this lesson, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. The case is before the Judge, and the Judge of all the earth will do right.

3. Gill, “And they gave forth their lots,.... Or "gave forth lots for them", as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions; for Joseph and Matthias; some for one, and some for another; and which were cast into a man's lap, or into a vessel, and was no other than balloting for them; and so he that had the majority upon casting them up, when taken out, was declared the person chosen; or "they cast their lots"; that is, into an urn, or vessel; which lots had the names of the two persons on them; and into another vessel, as is thought, were put two other lots; the one had the name of "apostle" upon it, and the other nothing; and these being taken out by persons appointed for that purpose, the lot with Matthias's name on it, was taken out against that which had the name of apostle on it, upon which he was declared to be the apostle: it may be that this was done in the same manner, as the goats on the day of atonement had lots cast on them, Lev_16:8 which the Jews say was thus performed: there was a vessel which they call "Kalphi", set in the court, into which two lots, which were made of wood, or stone, or metal, were put; the one had written on it, for Jehovah, and on the other was written, "for the scapegoat"; the two goats being, the one at the right hand of the priest, and the other at the left; the priest shook the vessel, and with his two hands took out the two lots, and laid the lots on the two goats; the right on that which was at his right hand, and the left on that which was at his left (i); and so the goat which had the lot put upon him, on which was written, "for the Lord", was killed; and that which had the other lot, on which was written, for the scapegoat, was presented alive; so the lot here is said to fall upon Matthias: or the lots being cast into the vessel, as above related, these two drew them out themselves; and Matthias taking out that which had the word apostle on it, the lot fell on him: the manner of Moses's choosing the seventy elders, is said to be this (k):
"Moses took seventy two papers, and on seventy of them he wrote, ‫זקן‬, "an elder"; and upon

two, ‫חלק‬, "a part"; and he chose six out of every tribe, and there were seventy two; he said unto them, take your papers out of the vessel; he into whose hand came up "an elder" (i.e. the paper on which it was so written) he was sanctified (or set apart to the office); and he, in whose hand came up "a part" (the paper that had that on it), to him he said, the Lord does not delight in thee. And the lot fell upon Matthias; Matthias that is, either he had the largest number for him, their minds being so disposed by the providence of God; and it may be, contrary to the first thoughts and general sense of the body; since Joseph is mentioned first, and was a man of great character, and of many names and titles; but God, who knows the hearts: of men, and can turn them as he pleases, and to whom they sought for direction, inclined their minds to vote for the latter; or it was so ordered by divine providence, that in the casting or drawing the lots, the lot of the apostleship should fall on him: and he was numbered with the eleven apostles; apostles either chosen by the common suffrages of the people, as the word used signifies; or rather, he took his place among the apostles; he was registered among them, and ever after was reckoned one of them; Beza's ancient copy reads, "with the twelve apostles", their number being now complete,

4. Henry, “The doubt was determined by lot (Act_1:26), which is an appeal to God, and lawful to be used for determining matters not otherwise determinable, provided it be done in a solemn religious manner, and with prayer, the prayer of faith; for the lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposal thereof is of the Lord, Pro_16:33. Matthias was not ordained by the imposition of hands, as presbyters were, for he was chosen by lot, which was the act of God; and therefore, as he must be baptized, so he must be ordained, by the Holy Ghost, as they all were not many days after. Thus the number of the apostles was made up, as afterwards, when James, another of the twelve, was martyred, Paul was made an apostle. 5. RWP, “He was numbered (sunkatepsēphisthē). To the Jews the lot did not suggest
gambling, but “the O.T. method of learning the will of Jehovah” (Furneaux). The two nominations made a decision necessary and they appealed to God in this way. This double compound sunkatapsēphizō occurs here alone in the N.T. and elsewhere only in Plutarch (Them. 21) in the middle voice for condemning with others. Sunpsēphizō occurs in the middle voice in Act_19:19 for counting up money and also in Aristophanes. Psēphizō with dapanēn occurs in Luk_14:28 for counting the cost and in Rev_13:18 for “counting” the number of the beast. The ancients used pebbles (psēphoi) in voting, black for condemning, white (Rev_2:17) in acquitting. Here it is used in much the same sense as katarithmeō in Act_1:17.

Pause, Reader! on the very entrance at this sacred book of God, and mark well the blessed evidences here afforded of that most precious article of our faith, and hope; in the Lord’s return to glory. Jesus! we hail thee, as our risen, and ascended Savior! Thou art indeed gone up on high: thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men: yea, Lord, in the manhood of thy nature, thou hast all grace for men, even for thy rebellious children, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Send down, O Lord, the choice effusions of thy Holy Spirit; and remember Lord thy promise, in which thou didst say: I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you. Even so. Amen. Reader! let it be our daily exercise of faith, to make this article of our Lord’s ascension, the constant subject of holy joy. There, would I say, as often as I consider the ascension of Jesus, there dwells the Lord Christ, in my nature, having accomplished redemption by his blood. The heavens must receive my God and Savior, until the times of the restitution of all things. And he is gone before, to take possession of the kingdom in his Church’s name, that where he is there they may be also. Moreover, by my Lord’s ascension, the justification of his whole redeemed is confirmed. Here, he offered his soul an offering for sin: and there, he presented it perfect before Jehovah. His sacrifice he made upon earth, as our Great High Priest: and in heaven, he still ministers, going in before the presence of God with his own blood. And by virtue of the everlasting efficacy of that blood, all heaven is perfumed; and the redeemed are sanctified. Hail! thou glorious, and ascended Savior! Send down Lord all thine ascension-gifts upon thy people!

7. BOB DEFFI BAUGH, "This united prayer lasted for another ten days after our Lord’s ascension.6It was during this ten-day period that a replacement was chosen for Judas. The mystery of this paragraph is to explain why Luke went to so much effort (and space) to describe an event which appears to have little impact on the events that follow Pentecost. Verses 15-26 immediately precede Pentecost, but do not appear to have any profound impact on the apostles or on the community of believers. Why, then, does Luke include these verses? Let us seek to answer this question by observing what happened. We know that unified prayer preceded this process (1:14); indeed prayer was a part of the process (see 1:24-25). We learn that it was Peter who provided the leadership (1:15). The search for Judas’ replacement was prompted, at least in part, by the consideration of some Old Testament Scriptures (Psalm 69:25; 109:8). From Psalm 69, they recognized that Judas’ betrayal was part of the divine plan. The betrayal of our Lord was no accident, and it did not catch God off guard. In particular, Judas’ death was seen to be a part of the divine plan. The events surrounding Judas’ death7were interpreted as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Psalm 69:25. The decision to proceed with the process of replacing Judas was seen as obedience to Psalm 109:8, thus leading to its fulfillment. In days gone by, I have sided with those who found the selection of Matthias as an example of fleshly action hastily taken. Like others, I have pointed to Paul as the most likely candidate for Judas’ replacement. Like others, I have called attention to the fact that after this account, the name of Matthias is never found again in the

ew Testament.8I also called attention to the fact that Jesus told His apostles to wait until the coming of the Spirit.9 Others have sought to justify this action on the part of the apostles. They remind us that most of the twelve apostles disappear in Acts and the Epistles, and not just Matthias. They call attention to references to“the twelve”after this (Acts 6:2; 1 Corinthians 15:5). They also point out that Luke’s account depicts this selection in a favorable light, and that nothing negative is said about the action taken here. In the end, I think we must acknowledge that we must “read between the lines” a great deal to conclude that the replacement of Judas was wrong. I think there are two things that are clear, and that should dominate our thinking. First, the replacement of Judas occurs prior to Pentecost. And second, the replacement of Judas is carried out in a way that is very “Old Testament.” 8. CALVI , "They gave in their lots We will not, in this place, make any long disputation about lots. Those men who think it to be wickedness to cast lots at all, offend partly through ignorance, and partly they understand not the force of this word. There is nothing which men do not corrupt with their boldness and vanity, whereby it is come to pass that they have brought lots into great abuse and superstition. For that divination or conjecture which is made by lots is altogether devilish. But when magistrates divide provinces among them, and brethren their inheritance, it is a thing lawful. Which thing Solomon doth plainly testify, when he maketh God the governor of the event. “The lots (saith he) are cast into the bosom, and the judgment of them cometh forth from the Lord,” (Proverbs 16:33.) This ordinance or custom is no more corrupt and depraved by corruption, than the corrupt vanity of the Chaldeans doth corrupt true and natural astrology. Whilst the Chaldeans go about, with the name of astrology, to cloak and color their wicked curiosity, they defame a science both profitable and praiseworthy. The same do those which tell men their destinies (as they call them) by casting lots; but it is our duty to discern the lawful use from the corruption. He saith the lots were given, that being put into a pot, or one of their laps, they might afterwards be drawn out. And here we must also note that this word lot is diversely taken in this place; for when he said before that Judas had obtained a lot of the ministry, his meaning was, (according to the common custom of the Scripture,) that he had a portion given him of the Lord. He speaketh afterwards properly, and without any figure of a lot, yet is it likely, forasmuch as the word ‫גראל‬, (goral) is commonly used by the Hebrews for both things, that Peter meant to allude unto that which they were about to do, and that Luke had respect unto the self-same thing. The lot fell upon Matthias. It came to pass as no man would have looked for; for we may gather by that which goeth before, that there was not so great account made of Matthias as of the other; for, besides that Luke gave him the former place, the two sirnames which Barsabas had do show that he was in great estimation. He was called Barsabas, (that is, the son of an oath, or of rest,) of the thing itself, as if he were some mirror, either of faithfulness and innocency, or of a quiet and modest

nature. The other sirname did import singular honesty. This man, therefore, in men’s judgment, was the former, [superior;] but God did prefer Matthias before him. Whereby we are taught that we must not glory if we be extolled unto the skies in the opinion of men, and if by their voices and consents 76 we be judged to be most excellent men; but we must rather have regard of this, to approve ourselves unto God, who alone is the most lawful and just judge, by whose sentence and judgment we stand or fall. And we may oftentimes mark this also, that God passeth over him which is the chiefest in the sight of men, that he may throw down all pride which is in man. In that he addeth, that he was reckoned amongst the rest, he wipeth away all sinister note of rashness from the casting of lots, because the Church did embrace him as chosen by God on whom the lot fell. 9. EBC, “THE ELECTION OF MATTHIAS
We have selected the incident of this apostolic election as the central point round which to group the events of the ten days’ expectation which elapsed between the Ascension and Pentecost. But though this election is a most important fact, in itself and in the principles involved therein, yet there are numerous other circumstances in this waiting time which demand and will amply repay our thoughtful attention. I. There is, for instance, the simple fact that ten days were allowed to elapse between Christ’s departure and the fulfilment of His promise to send the Comforter to take His place with His bereaved flock. The work of the world’s salvation depended upon the outcome of this Divine agent. "Tarry ye in the city till ye be endued with power from on high"; and all the time souls were hurrying on to destruction, and society was becoming worse and worse, and Satan’s hold upon the world was daily growing in strength. God, however, acted in this interval according to the principles we see illustrated in nature as well as in revelation. He does nothing in a hurry. The Incarnation was postponed for thousands of years. When the Incarnation took place, Christ grew up slowly, and developed patiently, till the day of His manifestation to Israel. And now that Christ’s public work on earth was done, there is no haste in the further development of the plan of salvation, but ten days are suffered, to elapse before His promise is fulfilled. What a rebuke we read in the Divine methods of that faithless, unbelieving haste which marks and mars so many of our efforts for truth and righteousness, and specially so in these concluding years of the nineteenth century. Never did the Church stand more in need of the lesson so often thus impressed upon her by her Divine Teacher. As Christ did not strive nor cry, neither did any man hear His voice in the streets, so neither did He make haste, because He lived animated by Divine strength and wisdom, which make even apparent delay and defeat conduce to the attainment of the highest ends of love and mercy. And so, too, Christ’s Church still does not need the bustle, the haste, the unnatural excitement which the world thinks needful, because she labours under a sense of Divine guidance, and imitates His example who kept His Apostles waiting ten long days before He fulfilled His appointed promise. What a lesson of comfort, again, this Divine delay teaches! We are often inclined to murmur in secret at the slow progress of God’s Church and kingdom. We think that if we had the management of the world’s affairs things would have been ordered otherwise, and the progress of truth be one longcontinued march of triumph. A consideration of the Divine delays in the past helps us to bear this burden, though it may not explain the difficulty. God’s delays have turned out to His greater glory in the past, and they who wait patiently upon Him will find the Divine delays of the present dispensation equally well ordered.

II. Then again, how carefully, even in His delays, God honours the elder dispensation, though now it had grown old and was ready to vanish away. Christianity had none of that revolutionary spirit which makes a clean sweep of old institutions to build up a new fabric in their stead. Christianity, on the contrary, rooted itself in the past, retained old institutions and old ideas, elevating indeed and spiritualising them, and thus slowly broadened down from precedent to precedent. This truly conservative spirit of the new dispensation is manifest in every arrangement, and specially reveals itself in the times selected for the great events of our Lord’s ministry-Easter, Ascension, then the ten days of expectation, and then Pentecost. And it was most fitting that it should be so. The old dispensation was a shadow and picture of the higher and better covenant one day to be unfolded. Moses was told to make the tabernacle after the pattern shown to him in the mount, and the whole typical system of Judaism was modelled after a heavenly original to which Christ conformed in the work of man’s salvation. At the first Passover, the paschal lamb was offered up and the deliverance from Egypt effected; and so, too, at the Passover the true Paschal Lamb, Jesus Christ, was presented unto God as an acceptable sacrifice, and the deliverance effected of the true Israel from the spiritual Egypt of the world. Forty days after the Passover, Israel came to the mount of God, into which Moses ascended that he might receive the gifts for the people; and forty days after the last great Paschal Offering, the great spiritual Captain and Deliverer ascended into the Mount of God, that He, in turn, might receive highest spiritual blessings and a new law of life for God’s true people. Then there came the ten days of expectation and trial, when the Apostles were called to wait upon God and prove the blessings of patient abiding upon Him, just as the Israelites were called to wait upon God while Moses was absent in the mount. But how different the conduct of the Apostles from that of the more carnal Jews! How typical of the future of the two religions - the Jewish and the Christian! The Jews walked by sight, and not by faith; they grew impatient, and made an image, the golden calf, to be their visible Deity. The Apostles tarried in patience, because they were walking by faith, and they received in return the blessing of an ever-present unseen Guide and Comforter to lead them, and all who like them seek His help, into the ways of truth and peace. And then, when the waiting time is past, the feast of Pentecost comes, and at Pentecost, the feast of the giving of the old law, as the Jews counted it, the new law of life and power, written not on stony tables, but on the fleshy tables of the heart is granted in the gift of the Divine Comforter. All the lines of the old system are carefully followed, and Christianity is thus shown to be, not a novel invention, but the development and fulfilment of God’s ancient purposes. We can scarcely appreciate nowadays the importance and stress laid upon this view among the ancient expositors and apologists. It was a favourite taunt used by the pagans of Greece and Rome against Christianity that it was only a religion of yesterday, a mere novelty, as compared with their own systems, which descended to them from the dawn of history. This taunt has been indeed most useful in its results for us moderns, because it led the ancient Christians to pay the most careful attention to chronology and historical studies, producing as the result works like "The Chronicle of Eusebius," to which secular history itself owes the greatest obligations. The heathens reproached Christians with the novelty of their faith, and then the early Christians replied by pointing to history, which proved that the Jewish religion was far older than any other, maintaining at the same time that Christianity was merely the development of the Jewish religion, the completion and fulfilment in fact and reality of what Judaism had shadowed forth in the ritual of the Passover and of Pentecost. III. We notice again in this connection the place where the Apostles met, and the manner in which they continued to assemble after the ascension, and while they waited for the fulfilment of the Master’s promise: "They returned unto Jerusalem, and they went up

into an upper chamber." Round this upper room at Jerusalem has gathered many a story dating from very early ages indeed. The upper room in which they assembled has been identified with the chamber in which the Last Supper was celebrated, and where the gift of the Holy Ghost was first received, and that from ancient times. Epiphanius, a Christian writer of the fourth century, to whom we owe much precious information concerning the early ages of the Church, tells us that there was a church built on this spot even in Hadrian’s time, that is, about the year 120 A.D. The Empress Helena, again, the mother of Constantine the Great, identified or thought she identified the spot, and built a splendid church to mark it out for all time; and succeeding ages have spent much care and thought upon it. St. Cyril of Jerusalem was a writer little referred to and little known in our day, who yet has much precious truth to teach us. He was a learned bishop of Jerusalem about the middle of the fourth century, and he left us catechetical lectures, showing what pains and trouble the Early Church took in the inculcation of the fundamental articles of the Christian creed. His catechetical lectures, delivered to the candidates for baptism, contain much valuable evidence of the belief, the practice, and the discipline of the early ages, and they mention among other points the church built upon Mount Zion on the spot once occupied by this upper room. The tradition, then, which deals with this chamber and points out its site goes back to the ages of persecution; and yet it is notable how little trouble the book of the Acts of the Apostles takes in this matter. It is just the same with this upper chamber as with the other localities in which our Lord’s mighty works were wrought. The Gospels tell us not where His temptations occurred, though man has often tried to fix the exact locality. The site of the Transfiguration and of the true Mount of Beatitudes has engaged much human curiosity; the scene of Peter’s vision at Joppa and of St. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, -all these and many other divinely honoured localities of the Old as well as of the New Testament have been shrouded from us in thickest darkness, that we might learn not to fix our eyes upon the external husk, the locality, the circumstances, the time, which are nothing, but upon the interior spirit, the love, the unity, the devotion and selfsacrifice which constitute in the Divine sight the very heart and core of our holy religion. They assembled themselves, too, in this upper chamber in a united spirit, such as Christianity, though only in an undeveloped shape, already dictated. The Apostles "continued steadfastly in prayer, with the women also, and Mary, the mother of Jesus." The spirit of Christianity was, I say, already manifesting itself. In the temple, as in the synagogues to this day, the women prayed in a separate place; they were not united with the men, but parted from them by a screen. But in Christ Jesus there was to be neither male nor female. The man in virtue of his manhood had no advantage or superiority over the woman in virtue of her womanhood; and so the Apostles gathered themselves at the footstool of their common Father in union with the women, and with Mary the mother of Jesus. How simple, again, this last mention of the Blessed Virgin Mother of the Lord! how strangely and strongly contrasted the scriptural record is with the fables and legends which have grown up round the memory of her whom all generations must ever call blessed. Nothing, in fact, shows more plainly the historic character of the book we are studying than a comparison of this last simple notice with the legend of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin as it has been held since the fifth century, and as it is now believed in the Church of Rome. The popular account of this fabled incident arose in the East amid the controversies which rent the Church concerning the Person of Christ in the fifth century. It taught that the Holy Virgin, a year or so after the ascension, besought the Lord to release her; upon which the angel Gabriel was sent to announce her departure in three days’ time. The Apostles were thereupon summoned from the different parts of the world whither they had departed. John came from Ephesus, Peter from Rome, Thomas from India, each being miraculously wafted on

a cloud from his special sphere of labour, while those of the apostolic company who had died were raised for the occasion. On the third day the Lord descended from heaven with the angels, and took to Himself the soul of the Virgin. The Jews then attempted to burn the body, which was miraculously rescued and buried in a new tomb, prepared by Joseph of Arimathaea in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. For two days the angels were heard singing at the tomb, but on the third day their songs ceased, and the Apostles then knew that the body had been transferred to Paradise. St. Thomas was indeed vouchsafed a glimpse of her ascension, and at his request she dropped him her girdle as a token, whereupon he went to his brother Apostles and declared her sepulchre to be empty. The Apostles regarded this as merely a sign of his customary incredulity, but on production of the girdle they were convinced, and on visiting the grave found the body gone. Can any contrast be greater or more striking between the inspired narrative, composed for the purpose of ministering to godly life and practice, and such legendary fables as this, invented to gratify mere human curiosity, or to secure a temporary controversial triumph? The Divine narrative shrouds in thickest darkness details which have no spiritual significance, no direct bearing on the work of man’s salvation. The human fable intrudes into the things unseen, and revels with a childish delight in the regions of the supernatural and miraculous. What a striking likeness do we trace between the composition of the Acts and of the Gospels in this direction! The self-restraint of the evangelical writers is wondrous. Had the Evangelists been mere human biographers, how they would have delighted to expatiate on the childhood and youth and earlier years of Christ’s manhood. The apocryphal Gospels composed in the second and third centuries show us what Our Gospels would have been had they been written by men destitute of an abundant supply of the Divine Spirit. They enter into the most minute incidents of our Lord’s childhood, tell us of His games, His schoolboy days, of the flashes of the supernatural glory which ever betrayed the awful Being who lay hidden beneath. The Gospels, on the other hand, fling a hallowed and reverent veil over all the details, or almost all the details, of our Lord’s early life. They tell us of His birth, and its circumstances and surroundings, that we might learn the needful lesson of the infinite glory, the transcendent greatness of lowliness and humiliation. They give us a glimpse of our Lord’s development when twelve years old, that we may learn the spiritual strength and force which are produced through the discipline of obedience and patient waiting upon God; and then all else is concealed from human vision till the hour was come for the manifestation of the fullorbed God-Man. And as it was with the Eternal Son, so was it with that earthly parent whom the consensus of universal Christendom has agreed to honour as the type of devout faith, of humble submission, of loving motherhood. Fable has grown thick round her in mere human narrative, but when we turn to the inspired Word, whether in the Gospels or in the Acts, - for it is all the same in both, - we find a story simple, restrained, and yet captivating in all its details, ministering indeed to no prurient curiosity, yet rich in all the materials which serve to devout meditation, culminating in this last record, where the earthly parent finally disappears from out of sight, eclipsed by the heavenly glory of the Divine Son:-"These all continued steadfastly in prayer, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus." IV. And then we have the record of the apostolic election, which is rich in teaching. We note the person who took the first step, and his character, so thoroughly in unison with that picture which the four Gospels present. St. Peter was not a forward man in the bad sense of the word, but he possessed that energetic, forcible character to which men yield a natural leadership. Till St. Paul appeared St. Peter was regarded as the spokesman of the apostolic band, just as during our Lord’s earthly ministry the same position was by tacit consent accorded to him. He was one of those men who cannot remain inactive,

especially when they see anything wanting. There are some men who can see a defect just as clearly, but their first thought is, What have I to do with it? They behold the need, but it never strikes them that they should attempt to rectify it. St. Peter was just the opposite: when he saw a fault or a want his disposition and his natural gifts at once impelled him to strive to rectify it. When our Lord, in view of the contending rumours afloat concerning His ministry and authority, applied this searching test to His Apostles, "But whom do ye say that I am?" it was Peter that boldly responded, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Just as a short time afterwards the same Peter incurred Christ’s condemnation when he rebuked the Saviour for the prophecy of His forthcoming death and humiliation. The character of St. Peter as depicted in the Gospels and the Acts is at unison with itself. It is that of one ever generous, courageous, intensely sympathetic, impulsive, but deficient, as impulsive and sympathetic characters often are, m that staying power, that capacity to bear up under defeat, discouragement, and darkness which so conspicuously marked out the great Apostle of the Gentiles, and made him such a pillar in the spiritual temple of the New Jerusalem. Yet St. Peter did his own work, for God can ever find employment suitable to every type of that vast variety of temperament which finds shelter beneath the roof of Christ’s Church. St. Peter’s impulsiveness, chastened by prayer, solemnised by his own sad personal experience, deepened by the bitter sorrow consequent on his terrible fall, urged him to take the first conscious step as the leader of the newly-constituted society. How very similar the Peter of the Acts is to the Peter of St. Matthew; what an undesigned evidence of the truth of these records we trace in the picture of St. Peter presented by either narrative! Just as St. Peter was in the Gospels the first to confess at Caesarea, the first to strike in the garden, the first to fail in the high priest’s palace, so was he the first "to stand up in these days in the midst of the brethren," and propose the first corporate movement on the Church’s part. Here again we note that his attitude at this apostolic election proves that the interviews which St. Peter held with Christ after the Resurrection must have been lengthened, intimate, and frequent, for St. Peter’s whole view of the Christian organisation seems thoroughly changed. Christ had continued with His Apostles during forty days, speaking to them of the things concerning the kingdom of God; and St. Peter, as he had been for years one of the Lord’s most intimate friends, so he doubtless still held the same trusted position in these post-resurrection days. The Lord revealed to him the outlines of His kingdom, and sketched for him the main lines of its development, teaching him that the Church was not to be a knot of personal disciples, dependent upon His manifested bodily presence, and dissolving into its original elements as soon as that bodily presence ceased to be realised by the eye of sense; but was rather to be a corporation with perpetual succession, to use legal language, whose great work was to be an unceasing witness to Christ’s resurrection. If Peter’s mind had not been thus illuminated and guided by the personal instruction of Christ, how came it to pass that prior to the descent of the Spirit the Apostles move with no uncertain step in this matter, and unhesitatingly fill up the blank in the sacred college by the election of Matthias into the place left vacant by the terrible fall of Judas? The speech of St. Peter and the choice of this new Apostle reflect light back upon the forty days of waiting. No objection is raised, no warm debate takes place such as heralded the solution of the vexed question concerning circumcision at the council of Jerusalem; no one suggests that as Christ Himself had not supplied the vacancy the choice should be postponed till after the fulfilment of the Master’s mysterious promise, because they were all instructed as to our Lord’s wishes by the conversations held with Christ during His risen and glorified life. Let us pause a little to meditate upon an objection which might have been here raised. Why fill up what Christ Himself left vacant? some shortsighted objector might have

urged; and yet we see good reason why Christ may have omitted to supply the place of Judas, and may have designed that the Apostles themselves should have done so. Our Lord Jesus Christ gifted His Apostles with corporate power; He bestowed upon them authority to act in His stead and name; and it is not God’s way of action to grant power and authority, and then to allow it to remain unexercised and undeveloped. When God confers any gift He expects that it shall be used for His honour and man’s benefit. The Lord had bestowed upon the Apostles the highest honour, the most wondrous power ever given to men. He had called them to an office of which He Himself had spoken very mysterious things. He had told them that, in virtue of the apostolic dignity conferred upon them, they should in the regeneration of all things sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. He had spoken, too, of a mysterious authority with which they were invested, so that their decisions here upon earth would be ratified and confirmed in the region of heavenly realities. Yet when a gap is made by successful sin in the number of the mystical twelve, who are to judge the twelve tribes, He leaves the selection of a new Apostle to the remaining eleven, in order that they may be compelled to stir up the grace of God which was in them, and to exercise the power entrusted to them under a due sense of responsibility. The Lord thus wished to teach the Church from the earliest days to walk alone. The Apostles had been long enough depending on His personal presence and guidance, and now, that they might learn to exercise the privileges and duties of their Divine freedom, He leaves them to choose one to fill that position of supernatural rank and office from which Judas had fallen. The risen Saviour acted in grace as God ever acts in nature. He bestowed His gifts lavishly and generously and then expected man to respond to the gifts by making that good use of them which earnest prayer, sanctified reason, and Christian common-sense dictated. St. Peter’s action is notable, too, in another aspect. St. Peter was undoubtedly the natural leader of the apostolic band during those earliest days of the Church’s history. Our Lord Himself recognised his natural gifts as qualifying him to fulfil this position. There is no necessity for a denial on our part of the reality of St. Peter’s privilege as contained in such passages as the verse which says, "I will give unto thee (Peter) the keys of the kingdom of heaven." He was eminently energetic, vigorous, quick in action. But we find no traces of that despotic authority as prince of the Apostles and supreme head over the whole Church with which some would fain invest St. Peter and his successors. St. Peter steps forward first on this occasion, as again on the day of Pentecost, and again before the high priest after the healing of the impotent man, and yet again at the council of Jerusalem; for, as we have already noted, St. Peter possessed in abundance that natural energy which impels a man to action without any desire for notoriety or any wish to thrust himself into positions of undue eminence. But then on every occasion St. Peter speaks as an equal to his equals. He claims no supreme authority; no authority, in fact, at all over and beyond what the others possessed. He does not, for instance, on this occasion claim the right as Christ’s vicar to nominate an Apostle into the place of Judas. He merely asserts his lawful place in Christ’s kingdom as first among a body of equals to suggest a course of action to the whole body which he knew to be in keeping with the Master’s wishes, and in fulfilment of His revealed intentions. V. The address of St. Peter led the Apostles to practical action. He laid the basis of it in the book of Psalms, the mystical application of which to our Lord and His sufferings he recognises, selecting passages from the sixty-ninth and the one hundredth and ninth Psalms as depicting the sin and the fate of Judas Iscariot; and then sets forth the necessity of filling up the vacancy in the apostolic office, a fact of which he had doubtless been certified by the Master Himself. He speaks as if the College of the Apostles had a definite work and office; a witness peculiar to themselves as Apostles, which no others except Apostles could render. This is manifest from the language of St. Peter. He lays

down the conditions of a possible Apostle: he must have been a witness of all that Jesus had done and taught from the time of His baptism to His ascension. But this qualification alone would not make a man an Apostle, or qualify him to bear the witness peculiar to the apostolic office. There were evidently numerous such witnesses, but they were not Apostles, and had none of the power and privileges of the Twelve. He must be chosen by his brother Apostles. and their choice must be endorsed by heaven; and then the chosen witness, who had known the past, could testify to the resurrection in particular, with a weight, authority, and dignity he never possessed before. The apostolic office was the germ out of which the whole Christian ministry was developed, and the apostolic witness was typical of that witness to the resurrection which is not the duty alone, but also the strength and glory of the Christian ministry; for it is only as the ministers and witnesses of a risen and glorified Christ that they differ from the officials of a purely human association. After St. Peter had spoken, two persons were selected as possessing the qualifications needful in the successor of Judas. Then when the Apostles had elected they prayed, and cast lots as between the two, and the final selection of Matthias was made. Questions have sometimes been raised as to this method of election, and attempts have been sometimes made to follow the precedent here set. The lot has at times been used to supersede the exercise of human judgment, not only in Church elections, but in the ordinary matters of life; but if this passage is closely examined, it will be seen that it affords no justification for any such practice. The Apostles did not use the lot so as to supersede the exercise of their own powers, or relieve them of ‘that personal responsibility which God has imposed on men, whether as individuals, or as gathered in societies civil or ecclesiastical. The Apostles brought their private judgment’ into play, searched, debated, voted, and, as the result, chose two persons equally well qualified for the apostolic office. Then, when they had done their best, they left the decision to the lot, just as men often do still; and if we believe in the efficacy of prayer and a particular Providence ordering the affairs of men, I do not see that any wiser course can ever be taken, under similar circumstances, than that which the Apostles adopted on this occasion. But we must be careful to observe that the Apostles did not trust to the lot absolutely and completely. That would have been trusting to mere chance. They first did their utmost, exercised their own knowledge and judgment, and then, having done their part, they prayerfully left the final result to God, in humble confidence that He would show what was best. The two selected candidates were Joseph Barsabas and Matthias, neither of whom ever appeared before in the story of our Lord’s life, and yet both had been His disciples all through His earthly career. What lessons for ourselves may we learn from these men! These two eminent servants of God, either of whom their brethren counted worthy, to succeed into the apostolic College, appear just this once in the sacred narrative, and then disappear for ever. Indeed it is with the Apostles as we have already noted in the case of our Lord’s life and the story of the Blessed Virgin, the self-restraint of the sacred narrative is most striking. What fields for romance! What wide scope for the exercise of imagination would the lives of the Apostles have opened out if the writers of our sacred books had not been guided and directed by a Divine power outside and beyond themselves. We are not, indeed, left without the materials for a comparison in this respect, most consoling and most instructive for the devout Christian. Apocryphal histories of all the Apostles abound on every side, some of them dating from the second century itself. Many of them indeed are regular romances. The Clementine Homilies and Recognitions form a religious novel, entering into the most elaborate details of the labours, preaching, and travels of the Apostle Peter. Every one of the other Apostles, and many of the earliest disciples too, had gospels forged in their honour;

there was the Gospel of Peter, of Thomas, of Nicodemus, and of many others. And so it was with St. Matthias. Five hundred years after Christ the Gospel of Matthias was known and repudiated as a fiction. A mass of tradition, too, grew up round him, telling of his labours and martyrdom, as some said in Ethiopia, and as others in Eastern Asia. Clement, a writer who lived about the year 200, at Alexandria, recounts for us some sayings traditionally ascribed to St. Matthias, all of a severe and sternly ascetic tone. But in reality we know nothing either of what St. Matthias did or of what he taught. The genuine writings of apostolic times carry their own credentials with them in this respect. They are dignified and natural. They indulge in no details to exalt their heroes, or to minister to that love of the strange and marvellous which lies at the root of so much religious error. They were written to exalt Christ and Christ alone, and they deal, therefore, with the work of Apostles merely so far as the story tends to increase the glory of the Master, not that of His servants. Surely this repression of the human agents, this withdrawal of them into the darkness of obscurity, is one of the best evidences of the genuineness of the New Testament. One or two of the earliest witnesses of the Cross have their story told at some length. Peter and Paul, when compared with James or John or Matthias, figure very largely in the New Testament narrative. But even they have allotted to them a mere brief outline of a portion of their work, and all the rest is hidden from us. The vast majority even of the Apostles have their names alone recorded, while nothing is told concerning their labours or their sufferings. If the Apostles were deceivers, they were deceivers who sought their rewards neither in this life, where they gained nothing but loss of all things, nor in the pages of history, where their own hands and the hands of their friends consigned their brightest deeds to an obscurity no eye can pierce. But they were not deceivers. They were the noblest benefactors of the race, men whose minds and hearts and imaginations were filled with the glory of their risen Redeemer. Their one desire was that Christ alone should be magnified, and to this end they willed to lose themselves in the boundless sea of His risen glory. And thus they have left us a noble and inspiriting example. We are not apostles, martyrs, or confessors, yet we often find it hard to take our part and do our duty in the spirit displayed by Matthias and Joseph called Barsabas. We long for public recognition and public reward. We chafe and fret and fume internally because we have to bear our temptations and suffer our trials and do our work unknown and unrecognised by all but God. Let the example of these holy men help us to put away all such vain thoughts. God Himself is our all-seeing and our ever-present Judge. The Incarnate Master Himself is watching us. The angels and the spirits of the just made perfect are witnesses of our earthly struggles. No matter how low, how humble, how insignificant the story of our spiritual trials and struggles, they are all marked in heaven by that Divine Master who will at last reward every man, not according to his position in the world, but in strict accordance with the principles of infallible justice.


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